The Sunday slate of Week 14 is upon us and we’ll begin with the NFC South division as the struggling Atlanta Falcons will travel to Carolina to try and derail the undefeated Panthers. Many would have thought the positions of these teams may have been switched at this point in the season. Atlanta was supposed to be the better of the two, but that just has not materialized. Carolina’s got their sights squarely focused on rolling into the post-season undefeated, and clinching homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Last week they weren’t at their best in New Orleans, but expect a big bounceback performance from this veteran-laden group. It’s an NFC South showdown and you’re covered here at The Sports Geek! Read on below for a full game analysis and the official selection for Falcons/Panthers.
Falcons vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons +8 (-110)
@ Carolina Panthers -8 (-110)
Over 46 (-110)
Under 46 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Panthers Pick:
What an absolute disaster the Atlanta Falcons have turned into. After the starting the season red-hot, they’ve fallen off in a major way. Their offense is sputtering under the command of Matt Ryan and their defense has resorted to its porous ways. It’s been a struggle of late for the Falcons and it may be too late to rescue their 2015 season. The task won’t be getting any easier this week as the Panthers will definitely be seeking some redemption after Week 13’s dismal outing against the Saints.
Expect Carolina to just destroy the Falcons when they’ve got the ball. Atlanta is terrible and possesses virtually no pass rush. Cam Newton should have ample time and space in the pocket to pick that Falcons’ secondary apart and connect with his targets, like stud tight-end Greg Olsen. Making matters worse is the fact that Atlanta can’t stop the run either. They have conceded a staggering 345 rushing yards over the past two weeks, so look for Jonathan Stewart to break out and post yet another big total. The Panthers will be in complete control on offense and should ride this to a victory.
If Atlanta is going to have any chance at staying in this one, they’re going to need to put up a bunch of points because of that awful defense. Yes, the Falcons do have the supremely talented Julio Jones, but in a match-up with Josh Norman of Carolina, expect Jones to be very limited. Josh Norman has been excellent in coverage all year, and was quoted as saying he’s been looking forward to this match-up for a very long time. On the ground, Atlanta won’t have much luck running the football behind Devonta Freeman. Carolina is sixth overall with their run defense, and has been the number two-ranked squad in yards per carry over the past month.
Carolina is miles better than Atlanta right now, and has a lot more to play for. The Falcons are a mess at the moment, and look for the Panthers to take complete advantage of all their match-up advantages. There’s a tendency for dominant teams to look past these minnows, but not this week and not in a divisional match-up. There’s animosity between these groups and Josh Norman and Cam Newton won’t allow another dismal outing. Take the Panthers to roll on Sunday.
PICK = Panthers -8 (-110)