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Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Point Spread - Pick

Atlanta Falcons (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 1PM EDT
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: ATL +2/CAR -2
Over/Under Total: 44

The Atlanta Falcons come to Charlotte for a week 9 NFC South divisional matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. This is their first of two matchups this season—featuring two of the last division-winners, both of whom went to the Super Bowl. Each team is coming off a much-needed win this past Sunday. Atlanta started the season 3-0, but the defending conference champions had not won since September 24 until getting a 25-20 win over the Jets on Sunday. Carolina also shook off a two game losing streak to upend the Buccaneers on Sunday in a big 17-3 road win to get them to 5-3. Who can come out ahead in this big NFC South battle on Sunday?

Atlanta had really gone into the tank. The season started off nicely at 3-0, followed by 3 straight losses, which sandwiched a bye week. Their win over the Jets on Sunday was their first win in five weeks. Even so, at 4-3, they are still in it and hope to use their momentum from Sunday to carry over in coming weeks for a possible run. Even against the Jets, who are improved, they trailed going into the fourth quarter. We've yet to see the Falcons really drop the hammer on anyone this season.

The apparent depreciation of the Atlanta offense can be tied to a few different things. It's hard to quantify a hangover-affect from the loser of a Super Bowl, but in recent seasons, it seems to be a very real thing. Kyle Shanahan is out as coordinator, with Steve Sarkisian not quite able to tap into the magic formula as easily as his predecessor did. Matt Ryan was better on Sunday, going for 254 yards and two touchdowns, with the running-game delivering with good play from Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Having WR Mohamed Sanu back healthy has helped the whole receiving crew, as both he and Julio Jones had 74 yards on the day, with both Sanu and TE Austin Hooper catching touchdowns. And the line was adept at keeping Ryan safe from the pass-rush on Sunday, while opening holes against the depreciated Jets' defensive line.

The Atlanta defense has been decent. They haven't been all that impactful and on Sunday, notched just their fourth turnover of the season. Getting Vic Beasley back in the swing of things will help what has been a weak pass-rush. By the same token, they've given up between 17-23 points in all but one of their games this season. Dontari Poe has helped, as he and Grady Jarrett are keeping opposing rush-attacks in check. Still, they aren't making as much of an overall difference as they did last season.

The Panthers really needed one on Sunday and to hold a home Tampa team to three points shows they mean business. After a 4-1 start, they fell upon hard times. A loss to the Eagles was somewhat-forgivable, but losing to the Bears the next week and putting up three points painted the Panthers in a really bad light. So Sunday was important. The offense continues to labor, but the defense was in full-flight, given a boost by the return of Luke Kuechly.

The Panthers' offense has been laboring. After putting up three points the previous week, they managed 17 on Sunday against Tampa. Even against the weak Bucs' secondary, Cam Newton was only 18-for-32 on Sunday, with 154 yards, a TD and a pick. Once again, Christian McCaffrey excelled in the art of catching really short passes. His addition to the team hasn't improved the rush, with Newton and Jonathan Stewart getting the most production in that area. Aerially, not having Greg Olsen in there has hurt, with guys like Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, and others often very quiet on offense. This week, they surprisingly traded away Benjamin. They're just not getting a lot out of what they have thus far in 2017.


Carolina's defense opened up the season giving up just two field goals in their first two games. They went through a rough patch, but in their last two games, they have also yielded only two field goals. They were good on Sunday, as returning Luke Kuechly had an interception and was very impactful in his return from another concussion. Mike Adams also had a pick, with Julius Peppers and Mario Addison getting after the quarterback. The Carolina defense offers a lot of balance and makes plays on all levels. And after barely getting any turnovers in the first 7 games of the season, they were able to get three on Sunday.

Having lost their last two at home, Carolina looks to score what would be a big win this week to get them to 6-3. It won't be easy against a Falcons team that is still in atonement-mode after going into the funk they managed to snap out of last week. Atlanta will still need to figure out things on offense, going against what looks to be a peaking Panthers "D." But the Carolina offense also has a lot of issues and this game could very well be a grind. I'm taking the "under."

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Atlanta vs. Carolina game goes under 44 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Atlanta vs. Carolina game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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