The Atlanta Falcons (4-5, 1-3 Away) and their great rushing offense travel to take on the Carolina Panthers (2-7, 2-3 Home), one of the league’s softest ground defenses, at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday. The Falcons are three-point favorites, and the total is 44.
Atlanta is coming off a close 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. Marcus Mariota threw for 129 yards. Tyler Allgeier ran 10 times for 99 yards. Kyle Pitts caught two passes for 27 yards. Carolina lost 42-21 to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Sunday.
Baker Mayfield was 14 of 20 for 164 yards and two touchdowns. D’Onta Foreman carried seven times for 23 yards. Terrace Marshall Jr. scored once. He caught three receptions for 53 yards.
The Falcons won the first meeting between the teams this season, a 37-34 victory in October. Marcus Mariota threw three touchdowns for Atlanta.
TALE OF THE TAPE
The Falcons are averaging 24.1 points per game for the season, ninth in the NFL, and they are facing a Panthers defense that has surrendered 25.3 PPG (29th). Meanwhile, Carolina has scored 19.9 points a game this season, 23rd in the league, and Atlanta is allowing 25.0 PPG (26th).
The Falcons rank as one of the league’s top teams in rushing yards per game (162.9, 4th), while they are 30th in passing yards (173.4). Look for them to take advantage on the ground, as the Panthers are 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (139.3). Against the pass, Carolina is 20th (240.0).
Carolina is 27th in the league in passing yards per game (199.9) and 22nd in rushing (105.3). Atlanta’s defense has been most beatable through the air, as the Falcons are worst in the league in passing yards allowed per game (310.0). Against the run, the Falcons are 8th (106.9).
Carolina ranks as the one of the lowest volume red zone offenses in the NFL, moving inside the 20-yard-line just 2.4 times per game (33rd) and scoring a touchdown on 55% of those possessions (17th).
Through nine games, Marcus Mariota has thrown for 10 touchdowns (6 INT) and 173.4 yards per game to lead Atlanta in passing. In four away games this season, he has five TDs (3 INT) and an average of 174.0 yards passing.
Tyler Allgeier leads the team in rushing with an average of 52.9 yards a game over eight games. He has one touchdown on the ground. Drake London is the Falcons’ leading receiver with 41.0 yards a game and two TDs. Baker Mayfield has six passing touchdowns (4 INT) with 186.2 yards per game through six games to lead Carolina.
In four home games this season, he has thrown for three TDs (4 INT) and an average of 204.2 yards. Christian McCaffrey has been the home team’s leading performer on the ground, averaging 65.5 yards a game through six games.
He also has been valuable as a receiver, posting 46.2 yards a game through the air. He has three total touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving. DJ Moore has been the primary target in the Panthers’ passing game.
He has three touchdowns and a 49.9 yard per game average through nine appearances. DJ Moore is averaging 7.9 targets per game (3.9 receptions).
SportsTips’ NFL Pick:
Carolina Panthers (+120)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.