The struggling Carolina Panthers pulled starting QB Sam Darnold from their Week 7 loss, but he will start Sunday’s matchup at Atlanta as the Panthers try to end a four-game skid. The Falcons are favored on the NFL odds.
How to Bet Panthers at Falcons NFL Odds & TV Info
- When: Sunday, 1 PM ET
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
- TV: Fox
- Radio: http://www.siriusxm.com/nfl
- Stream Option: NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV
- Opening NFL Lines: Falcons -3 (total 46)
The teams split, each winning on the road. The game in Atlanta was 23-16 in favor of the Panthers. Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater, going 27-for-37, threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, and Juston Burris made a key interception in the end zone. Bridgewater is now in Denver. Matt Ryan was held to 21 of 37 for 226 yards. After that loss, the Falcons fired Coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Why Bet on Carolina?
The Panthers lost their fourth in a row last Sunday, 25-3 at the Giants. Starting QB Sam Darnold was benched in the fourth quarter. P.J. Walker took over for Darnold and promptly led a three-and-out drive. At the time of the benching, the Panthers had three points on the board. Darnold managed 111 passing yards and an interception while completing 16-of-25 attempts in three quarters of action. Darnold also struggled to diagnose pressure and took four sacks. He had an intentional grounding penalty from the end zone in the first half that resulted in a safety. Walker completed 3-of-14 passes for 33 yards.
Coach Matt Rhule said that Darnold remains his guy, although there have been rumors this week that Carolina is interested in trading for Houston QB Deshaun Watson.
“Throwing on time, taking the open receiver, being patient, protecting the football, not throwing off his back foot,” Rhule said of what has been different about Darnold the past four games. “He had some times on third down where guys were open. We’re predetermining the thinking. Again, I can understand young quarterbacks go through that. We’re obviously not coaching Sam well enough.”
Rhule said the Panthers needed “more from the run game” in the team’s lopsided Week 7 loss. The Panthers had seven rushing attempts on their opening drive against a soft Giants defense, but lead back Chuba Hubbard finished with just 12 rushes for 28 yards (along with four receptions for 28 yards). Star RB Christian McCaffrey remains out injured.
This week, the Panthers placed starting right guard John Miller on injured reserve with an ankle injury, and waived punter Ryan Winslow. Miller suffered an ankle injury in Sunday’s game against the Giants. Without him in the lineup, the Panthers will start their sixth different combination of linemen in eight games. Edwards has spent time with the Jets, Bills, Chargers, and Lions. In his four years with the Jets, he averaged 45.5 yards per punt.
Wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. remains out of practice, more than a week after suffering a concussion against the Vikings in Week 6. Linebacker Shaq Thompson (foot) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, his first in-uniform work since the Dallas game in Week 4. The hope is that he can return this week.
Veteran safety Juston Burris has been designated to return from injured reserve, and practiced for the first time since he went on IR in Week 4. Still not clear if he will actually play Sunday. Adding him back would lend some stability to the secondary, which is also close to getting nickel Myles Hartsfield back.
Why Bet on Atlanta?
The Falcons won for the third time in four games last Sunday, 30-28 in Miami. Matt Ryan had two big throws to rookie tight end Kyle Pitts to get Atlanta into field-goal range on the final drive, Younghoe Koo made a 36-yarder as time expired.
Ryan completed 25-of-40 passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His scores went for five yards to Calvin Ridley and 49 to Russell Gage, who ran right by Jevon Holland. Ryan did lose a fumble on an ill-fated fourth quarter scramble. Since Week 3, Ryan has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 301.0 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. His passer rating of 107.0 is better than Tom Brady’s over the last month.
Pitts, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, registered seven receptions for 163 yards. The 163 receiving yards were the fourth-most by a rookie tight end in a single game all-time, trailing only Hall of Famers Jackie Smith (212 on Oct. 13, 1963) and Mike Ditka (190 on Nov. 12, 1961), as well as Mark Bavaro (176 on Oct. 13, 1985).
Pitts, who had 119 receiving yards in Week 5 prior to the Falcons’ Week 6 bye, is the second rookie tight end in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards in consecutive games, joining Raymond Chester (Weeks 5-6, 1970). Pitts has 471 receiving yards this season and last week surpassed Ditka (444 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his first six career games in NFL history.
Pitts has lined up out wide on 31.6 percent of his snaps this season, the highest rate among tight ends. No tight end is running more routes on the outside of the formation, and only five tight ends have run a greater percentage of slot routes than Pitts through seven weeks. Pitts has lined up as an in-line tight end on a mere 12 percent of his snaps this year.
Defensively, the Falcons have only managed 10.0 sacks on the season, ranking 30th in the NFL. The team’s pass rush win rate of 37 percent ranks 26th. Atlanta is better against the run with a run stop win rate of 29 percent (24th), allowing 112.2 rushing yards per game.
- Panthers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- Panthers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Panthers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as an underdog.
- Falcons are 10-3 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Panthers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Expert Prediction: Falcons 27, Panthers 24
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