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Thursday Night NFL Preview — Panthers make more changes in advance of date with Falcons

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Falcons Trying to Keep Division Title Hopes Alive Against Panthers on Thursday Night NFL Football

By Charles Jay

Thursday Night NFL Football kicks off week 10 of action. A lot of teams go through ups and downs, but this has been a season of “downs” for the Carolina Panthers. And when we say that, we don’t mean a lot of FIRST downs either. And just when it looked like they might be able to turn the corner and put together some solid efforts, they were humiliated against the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

Meanwhile, BetAnySports patrons have noticed that the Atlanta Falcons, despite having a record under the .500 mark, have been one of the NFL’s overachievers, because nothing was expected of them at the season’s outset, yet they are tied for the division lead in the NFC South.

These teams met just eleven days ago at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and if this game produces the same bizarre finish as that one, you won’t be hearing too much about the dullness of the Thursday night NFL games.

Kickoff is set for 8:20 PM ET at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, and of course, it is part of the Amazon Prime package.  

In case you’re not aware of it, Atlanta won the previous meeting 37-34 in overtime, but the result probably should have gone Carolina’s way. Panthers quarterback PJ Walker threw a 62-yard desperation TD pass to PJ Moore to tie the game at 34 with seconds remaining.

But Moore, in his end zone celebration, took his helmet off and was assessed a 15-yard penatly. Faced with a 48-yard extra point, Eddy Piniero missed it. He also missed a 33-yard field goal in overtime, The Falcons then went down and hit a field goal. And that’s how you lose a game.

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Thursday Night NFL Preview — Here are the numbers…

At BetAnySports, the Falcons are listed as the favorites on the road:

Atlanta Falcons  -3 (+100)
Carolina Panthers  +3 (-120)

Over 42.5 Points -110
Under 42.5 Points -110

Thursday Night NFL Preview — About the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is going to travel by land – that;’s just the way it is. The Falcons average 163 rushing yards a game. That is fourth in the National Football League. They are also running it 57.7% of the time, and only the Chicago Bears call rushing plays with more frequency.

Cordarelle Patterson is back in the lineup and he had 44 yards in the 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers this past weekend. Tyler Allgeier, the BYU product, had 99 yards and that was a good sign.

The Falcons’ offensive line gets some surge – no team in the NFL has gotten their running plays stuffed (no gain or a loss) less frequently than their 12%. They’ll be shuffling the offensive line a little on Thursday, though, going deeper into the depth chart. Guard Matt Hennessy, who has been starting but was a second-team player coming out of training camp, has a knee injury and is out.

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Thursday Night NFL Preview — About the Carolina Panthers

The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that couldn’t run the ball; that is, until they encountered the Panthers last week. Then Joe Mixon went wild; he tallied four touchdowns on the ground (and added one receiving), with 153 of the 241 rushing yards in an embarrassing 42-21 defeat.

Things were no better on the other side of the ball. Just when we were feeling pretty good about PJ Walker playing himself into the quarterback spot, he imploded, with three completions, nine yards passing and two interceptions. Baker Mayfield, who came back from an ankle injury, had 155 yards. The rushing game was virtually non-existent. And the game was 41-7 after three quarters.

Wilks had already fired two assistants when he took over – defensive coordinator Phil Snow and assistant special teams coach Ed Foley. On Monday he let go of two more – cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper and defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, who were close allies of fired ex-head coach Matt Rhule.

Thursday Night NFL Preview — Our conclusion

Wilks said that because of the short week, Walker will get the start again on Thursday. That doesn’t seem to make a heck of a lot of sense, since Mayfield threw two TD passes. But it looks as if, after a couple of encouraging weeks, we might be back to chaos in Charlotte.

Here’s something that is tough on a short week – going at it minus two more coaches.

Atlanta is a more stable option here. We know they do one thing very well. And we have seen Carolina show a lot of vulnerability to it. We also trust that Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and his offensive line coaches can make the necessary OL adjustments. The Panthers, missing a defensive line coach, don’t have too much in the way of practice to go to school.

So although Atlanta has been through a lot of close games, we’re going to lay the points.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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