The NFL has turned the corner on its 2022 season as it just completed the first half of its season with the Ravens’ Monday Night victory over the Saints. Now, it starts getting serious with eight weeks left in the regular season and lots still to be decided.
The NFC South, one of the most topsy-turvy divisions, will be featured on Thursday night as the Atlanta Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers.
Atlanta looks to bounce back from a heartbreaking 20-17 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers as they were outscored 6-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, which includes the game-winning field goal by the Chargers coming with no time left on the clock.
The Falcons had a chance to keep the game tied in regulation or win the contest themselves as their defense forced Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler to fumble with 46 seconds remaining, which was picked up by linebacker Rashaan Evans and returned but he subsequently lost the ball as he was being tackled and the Chargers recovered.
The Falcons are tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers atop of the division at 4-5.
Carolina (2-7) was dominated by the Cincinnati Bengals 42-21 on Saturday, as the Panthers turned the ball over three times and managed only 228 yards of offense. Despite their struggles, the Panthers are just two games behind the Falcons and Bucs for the top spot in the division.
Atlanta is favored by three points with the over/under set at 43.5 points. The Falcons are listed at -150 on the money line while the Panthers are at +130. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m . (ET) at Bank of America Stadium.
Falcons -3 (-110)
Atlanta and Carolina just played two weeks ago where the Falcons outlasted the Panthers 37-34 following a wild fourth quarter that saw 34 points put on the board. I see the Falcons coming out victorious once again, but I don’t think it will be as close as the first game.
Atlanta has played surprisingly well this entire season while Carolina has decided to totally gut its roster and coaching staff. Yes, the Panthers got a perhaps the most surprising victory of the season by defeating the Buccaneers.
But the Panthers defense has gotten thrashed the past two weeks as they have allowed 78 points and P.J. Walker will start at quarterback. Walker has demonstrated over his short career that he is very erratic and will make the big mistake as he completes less than 58% of his passes and has tossed 11 interceptions in 14 career games.
Atlanta owns one of the best running attacks in the game and they got Cordarrelle Patterson back this past week. The Falcons rolled up 167 yards on the ground against the Panthers in the first meeting and they totaled 201 rushing yards last week against the Chargers — marking the third time that they have topped the 200-yard mark.
Moreover, Marcus Mariota has proven that he can manage a game and the Falcons have a few more weapons than the Panthers. Plus, their defense has shown to be optimistic as they have forced the 10th most turnovers in the league.
Marcus Mariota Over 0.5 Passing Touchdowns (-245)
Marriota has done a decent job throwing the ball and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons put a ton of points on the board in this game. Prior to the game against the Chargers where he didn’t throw a touchdown, Mariota had seven touchdowns over his previous four contests which included throwing three against Carolina in the first game.
He has tossed at least one touchdown in six of nine games and has 10 touchdown passes overall this season.
Furthermore, expecting Mariota to throw one touchdown pass is not too much to expect, He averages one touchdown a game for his career. Carolina has allowed 12 touchdown passes this year.
P.J. Walker Over 0.5 Passing Touchdowns (-235); Over 182.5 Passing Yards (-110)
Walker has not been nowhere close to being any adequate NFL quarterback, however, the Panthers have no running game. So, Carolina will have to pass the ball if they are going to move the ball. Walker threw for 317 yards and a score against the Falcons in Week 8.
Atlanta’s defense ranks last against the pass and they have allowed 15 touchdown passes. The Falcons also have allowed at least 226 yards through the air in every game this season.
Other Best Bets
Cordarrele Patterson Over 51.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
P.J. Walker Over 0.5 Interceptions (-205)
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