Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons Point Spread Pick
Point Spread Line: Falcons -3
Moneyline: Carolina +135 / Atlanta -145
Time: 4:25 PM EST Sunday December 28, 2014 on FOX
Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-9)
Well it all comes down to this game, as the winner of this game will win the NFC South and qualify for the playoffs. Also, the winner will join the 2010 Seattle Seahawks as the only team to ever make the layoffs with a winning record. The Falcons are coming off a big win in New Orleans to stay alive for to the post-season and at home they are a 4.5-point favorite.
The Panthers have won 3 straight and in that span their defense has only given up an average of 13 points per game. In the middle of last month they hosted the Falcons and lost 19-17.
In their last games the Panthers beat the Cleveland Browns 17-13 and the Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints 30-14.
The Panthers are 7-8 ATS and they have an Over/Under record of 8-7 and the Falcons are 7-8 ATS and they have an Over/Under record of 6-9.
On the season the Falcons are 3-4 at home and the Panthers are 2-4-1 on the road.
The Falcons had lost 2 straight before beating the Saints last week.
Cam Newton came back from a car accident and a rib injury to play well in the Browns game. WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen are his main targets and they each have over 980 receiving yards on the season. Atlanta ranks dead last in the league in pass defense, but that unit was pretty good in the New Orleans win with 2 INT and on top of that their pass rush had 5 sacks.
The Atlanta run defense played great last week in the Big Easy holding the Saints to only 53 rushing yards. However, they face Jonathan Stewart in this game, as who was HUGE in the win over Cleveland with 122 yards. The Falcons also have to worry about Newton, who ranks 2nd to Stewart in rushing yards.
Matt Ryan has been one of the bright spots for the losing Falcons this season and his play is one of the main reasons the squad is still alive for the playoffs. He passed for over 320 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT in the New Orleans win. The Carolina pass defense ranks 9th in the league, but they will have their hands full with the great WR duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Newton actually had more passing yards than Ryan in the loss to Atlanta earlier this season (292 to 268), but he was picked off twice and Ryan had 0.
Steven Jackson was injured last week and should be able to go this week, but he has not helped out Ryan out much on offense. However, he will get his chances facing a Carolina run D that ranks 19th in the league, but did have a solid game in the win over the Browns.
Atlanta: 6-9 SU 7-8 ATS
Carolina is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall, and they have an Over record of 6-0 in their last 6 road games.
Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, and they have an Under record of 8-3 in their last 11 games.
The Falcons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games against the Panthers.
Free Against the Spread Pick
The Panthers need to run to win games and that's something that they should be able to do against the Falcons' porous run stop unit.
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