Carolina Panthers (14-0 SU, 10-4 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (7-7 SU, 5-9 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 27, 1:00pm
Where: Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CAR -7 / ATL +7
Over/Under Total: 47.5
This Sunday tune into Fox to watch the Carolina Panthers continue their march for the perfect season. The Panthers will come into the Georgia Dome at 14-0 and take on their division rival and hated foe, the Atlanta Falcons. These two teams met just two weeks ago in Charlotte and it was a pure dominant performance by the Panthers on their way to a 38-0 beatdown of the Falcons. Atlantas playoff hopes are all but dead, but nothing would make the fans and players happier than being the team that ended the Panthers run at perfection.
This game opens with the Atlanta Falcons as a touchdown underdog at home while the total points are set at 47.5. I guess Vegas figures Atlanta may actually score in this contest considering they were blanked just a couple of weeks ago. The public likes Carolina but the pick is not as one sided as one would think. 55% of the action is on Carolina to get the road cover, which in the NFL is not an easy task, especially against a division rival. As for the total points, 61% of the bettors believe this game stays under the total rather than going over.
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The Carolina Panthers are looking good, real good. Yes they nearly lost to the New York Giants just this past Sunday, but guess what, they didnt. A lost second field goal put Carolina at 14-0 and just two wins away from becoming only the second team ever to end a 16 game regular season unbeaten (2007 Patriots). This team is just solid all around. Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart are leading the offense while Josh Norman is becoming one of the NFLs biggest trash talkers and instigators, just ask Odell Beckham Jr. The matchup this weekend will be Norman on Julio Jones. In the game two weeks ago, Norman had Jones on lock down only allowing Julio to get seven catches for 88 yards, which is a victory considering how great Julio Jones is at the wide out position. On paper, this Carolina team should come into Atlanta and get an easy win before hitting Interstate 85 North and heading home, however, this has become one of the biggest rivalries in the southeast and there will be no love lost in this game. Carolina needs to do what they did in Charlotte and jump on Atlanta from the start. If the Panthers score early and stop the Falcons on a few drives, the dirty birds may throw in the towel and call it a day. If Atlanta gets the early momentum though and the Georgia Dome crowd gets going, it could be a fun game headed into the 4th quarter.
The Falcons finally won a game last week after dropping six straight. The playoff hopes for this team are dead, but like I mentioned earlier, this is their playoff game. A win over the 14-0 Panthers would add a little bit of happiness for a season that looked so promising that came crashing down. The Falcons just simply are not playing good football. Matt Ryan is having the worst season of his career, the offensive line is still a joke, the defense is getting better but is still lacking a few legit playmakers, and there is buzz around the organization that the entire front office may be unemployed come 2016. The team is a mess. Dan Quinn however has done a good job keeping this team somewhat competitive. In their seven losses, four of them were by just one score and in three of those they had the lead at some point during the fourth quarter. This team is about five or six bad plays away from being 9-5 on the season, but, they arent. This weekend is simply gut check time for the Falcons. After being absolutely humiliated just two weeks ago, one would think that these guys would want to prove something. The only way to do that though is to play better football. The offensive line MUST find a way to protect Matt Ryan. The Carolina defense is just plain nasty and believe me, they are sending the house after Matt Ryan. The Falcons cannot turn the ball over against this Carolina team. It will take a miracle to win this one, but it is the NFL and I have seen crazier things happen.
Two weeks ago I did the write up on the Falcons/Panthers game that ended in the 38-0 stomping. I was the idiot that took Atlanta plus the points and also said they would upset the Panthers on a late field goal. Well, I am not making that mistake twice. The Panthers are going to come into the dome and put another beating on the Falcons. Cam Newton, and Atlanta native, will do his thing in front of his friends and family and the Panthers will be 15-0 come 4:00pm on Sunday. Carolina wins this game 34-14.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE CAROLINA PANTHERS -7
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