NFL Week 17 Pick: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

It’s arguably the most important game of Week 17 and the first time these NFC South foes close against one another since 2014. Survivor Pick: Atlanta.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 46.5)

The Panthers are in the playoffs but can win the NFC South with a victory and Saints loss at Tampa Bay. Carolina could finish anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the No. 5 in the conference. Atlanta will be the NFC’s final wild-card team if it wins. It would also get in with a loss as long as Seattle loses at home to Arizona, which isn’t very likely. Neither the Panthers nor Falcons played great on Sunday. Carolina at least won, beating Tampa Bay 22-19. Cam Newton scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining – he actually fumbled, recovered it and then scored. The Panthers trailed most of the second half, but Newton drove the Panthers 59 yards by completing 4 of 7 passes for 52 yards in the final 3 minutes. Carolina was outgained 392-255. Atlanta lost 23-13 in New Orleans to fall to 0-6 this season when it doesn’t score at least 20 points. Atlanta was 1-for-10 on third down, 0-for-1 on fourth and 1-for-4 in the red zone. Two times the Falcons were at the New Orleans 1 and couldn't score a touchdown. The first was a fumble by Devonta Freeman on the 1 in the beginning of the third quarter. The second was a fourth-and-goal where Freeman was stopped for no gain in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. Freeman was limited to 36 yards on 11 carries, while Tevin Coleman had just six runs for 12 yards. Matt Ryan was sacked five times.

  • Panthers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. NFC South.
  • Home team is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
Free NFL Pick: Falcons -3 (buy down from 3.5)Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Julius Peppers continue to shine for the Panthers at age 37. The defensive end had a sack and two fumble recoveries against the Bucs -- the sack assured him of another $250,000 bonus for reaching 11 on the season. Must be nice! The Cats are now 8-1 this season in games decided by eight or fewer points. Meanwhile, seven of Atlanta’s losses are by less than a touchdown. Carolina goes for the season sweep as it beat the Falcons 20-17 in Week 9. The Panthers didn’t pass much but didn’t need to as they rushed for 201 yards. Newton ran for 86 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead but then didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter when it was down 20-10. Ryan threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and had one costly first half interception. Shortly before halftime, Mike Adams intercepted Ryan and returned it 49 yards to set up Newton's 9-yard touchdown run that made it 14-10 at the half. Freeman and Coleman were held to a combined 51 yards on 16 carries.

  • Over is 5-1 in Panthers last 6 games overall.
  • Over is 7-1 in Falcons last 8 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
Free NFL Pick: Over 46.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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