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Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons - 9/16/18 NFL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Carolina Panthers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

NFL Football: Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

The Line: Atlanta Falcons -6 -- Over/Under: 44.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: FOX

The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons meet Sunday in NFL action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Carolina Panthers look for a statement road victory to start 2-0 for the third time in the last four years. The Carolina Panthers have won five of their last eight road games. Cam Newton is completing 65.4 percent of his passes for 161 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Newton has one touchdown pass and four interceptions in his last three games. Christian McCaffrey and Devin Funchess have combined for 86 receiving yards on nine receptions while Greg Olsen has two receptions. The Carolina Panthers ground game is averaging 147 yards per contest, and Newton leads the way with 58 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Carolina is allowing eight points and 232 yards per game. Luke Kuechly leads the Carolina Panthers with 13 tackles, Mario Addison has 1.5 sacks and Wes Horton has 1.5 sacks. 

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Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons - 9/16/18 NFL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons need a bounce back victory here to avoid their first 0-2 start since the 2007 season. The Atlanta Falcons have won four of their last five home games. Matt Ryan is completing 48.8 percent of his passes for 251 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Ryan has one or less touchdown passes in each of his last seven games. Julio Jones and Tevin Coleman have combined for 195 receiving yards on 11 receptions while Austin Hooper has three receptions. The Atlanta Falcons ground game is averaging 74 yards per contest, and Devonta Freeman leads the way with 36 yards on six carries. Defensively, Atlanta is allowing 18 points and 232 yards per game. Deion Jones leads the Atlanta Falcons with nine tackles, Brian Poole has one sack and Robert Alford has two pass deflections.

The Panthers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games, 4-9 ATS in their last 13 vs. NFC South and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. The Falcons are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games in Week 2, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in September. The Panthers are 5-15-2 ATS in their last 22 meetings in Atlanta, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings and home team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.

The home team has won five of the last six meetings between the Panthers and Falcons, and Atlanta has the advantage of extra time given it played last Thursday. However, I'm not sure how anybody can lay big chalk with the Falcons given their situation. The Falcons not only have issues finishing in the red zone that carries over from last season, but they lost two Pro Bowl defenders and will be without their top running back in Devonta Freeman. Even at full strength, an argument can be made that the Panthers are the better team. Banged up, the Panthers getting nearly a free touchdown seems like a steal. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Panthers won this game outright.

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