|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFL Sportsbook updates that the NFC South’s first ranked Atlanta Falcons hit the road to meet the 4th ranked Carolina Panthers, in a battle of the National Football Conference South. In recent Falcons news, Eric Weems scored on a 102-yard kickoff return and Matt Ryan threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins as the Atlanta Falcons rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-24 on Sunday for their sixth straight victory. The Atlanta Falcons are 10-2, with two easy outs left against the 1-11 Carolina Panthers, who own the league's worst points differential. Count it? Not quite.
Though they have the NFL's worst offense by just about any metric -- seriously, try and find a stat besides rushing yards at which they rank better than 32nd -- they do have a middling defense that's a'ight against the run and forces turnovers. Carolina ranks seventh in takeaways led by Charles Godfrey's five picks.
But back to that offense. They've trotted out four different quarterbacks, all of them indistinguishably struggly. Rookie Jimmy Clausen has taken the bulk of snaps the past two weeks, so let's pencil his bitter little lemon face in as John Abraham's official target.
Sportsbook lists the Falcons as the 7.5 point favorite with the total over under at 47.
All season we've counted this one as an auto-W, but that check isn't gonna cash itself. Matt Ryan will have to have a good game under open skies, and Atlanta's pass rush will have to keep Clausen from having his first all-around strong performance. Falcons CB Brent Grimes should have a shot at collecting another interception, but Clausen actually hasn't thrown that many picks. His interception rate has been better than quite a few veteran starters.
Only four weeks remain in the NFL season. It's the fourth quarter, if you will. The time when contenders rise up and pretenders fade into the pack. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are both in the driver's seat for homefield advantage in their respective conferences. Both teams are 6-0 in their place and it would take a herculean effort to prevent a Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl if that stays true through Week 17. The Pennsylvania teams - Eagles and Steelers - would enjoy a bye week before opening up at home against a wild card team.