Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 24, 2016, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Carolina Panthers +1.5 -- Over/Under: 52
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers meet Christmas Eve afternoon in a NFC South NFL matchup at Bank of America Stadium.
The Atlanta Falcons look to remain in the NFC South division after winning five of their last seven games. The Atlanta Falcons have not won double-digit games since the 2012 NFL season. Matt Ryan is completing 68.6 percent of his passes for 4,336 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ryan has two or more touchdown passes in five of his last seven games. Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu have combined for 1,818 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while Taylor Gabriel has 32 receptions. The Atlanta Falcons ground game is averaging 116.7 yards per contest, and Devonta Freeman leads the way with 930 yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, Atlanta is allowing 25.6 points and 368.9 yards per game. Keanu Neal leads the Atlanta Falcons with 98 tackles, Vic Beasley Jr. has 14.5 sacks and Deion Jones has three interceptions.
The Carolina Panthers look for their third straight victory in hopes of keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. The Carolina Panthers have won three of their last four home games. Cam Newton is completing 53.8 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Newton has one or less touchdown pass in six of his last eight games. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin have combined for 1,777 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while Ted Ginn Jr. has 47 receptions. The Carolina Panthers ground game is averaging 111.9 yards per contest, and Jonathan Stewart leads the way with 709 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively, Carolina is allowing 25.1 points and 360.6 yards per game. Luke Kuechly leads the Carolina Panthers with 102 tackles, Mario Addison has 7.5 sacks and Kurt Coleman has four interceptions.
The Falcons are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall. The Panthers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC South and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 home games. The Falcons are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Carolina and the under is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings.
I'm not sure what's gotten into the Carolina Pnthers, but they're showing signs of turning things around. It's probably too little too late, but we're only concerned with victories and covers in this business. The Panthers look like a decent football team and Newton is playing some of his best ball of the season. Meanwhile, the Falcons have been shaky at times despite victories and are still playing without their top receiver in Jones. This pick may backfire on me, but I like the way the Panthers are playing as of late and like the value of the free point at home.