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Thursday Night Football Parlay: Falcons vs. Panthers

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Thursday Night Football Parlay: Falcons vs. Panthers
Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Carolina Panthers. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/AFP

The NFL is back and we have coverage for every game, handing out free top NFL picks and odds analysis as always. We were able to hit big wins in the first seven weeks, and Thursday Night Football looms as one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 8. We have your parlay picks for the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers showdown.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

Thursday, October 29, 2020 – 08:20 PM EDT at Bank of America Stadium

The NFC South is a Tough Division

The NFC South has continued to be a hot division in terms of competition. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a top-three team in the NFL as I expected, and the New Orleans Saints are among the more competitive teams in the NFC still. The Panthers have shocked many with their franchise flipped at key positions, and the result has been a ton of fun, entertaining games.

The Falcons, however, look ready for a rebuild and refresh. Already firing Dan Quinn and slipping to 1-6 with a capped-out roster is a worst-case scenario for the franchise. It'll be tough to get out of the cap Hell they're in, and playing out this season has very little upside for half the team.

Atlanta's embarrassing 23-22 last-second loss against Detroit only highlights their continued failures and roster gaps. They should've won the game considering they had the ball and could've ran out the clock until Todd Gurley became greedy and converted a touchdown opportunity. Matthew Stafford quickly got the ball downfield and threw the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

What is Wrong with the Falcons?

The numbers continue to look great for the Falcons passing game and Matt Ryan. But as usual it's hollow to a large degree. Scoring 22 points with 42 passing attempts and 338 yards is a sign that something continues to be off. Ryan's time in Atlanta should be ending even if his cap hit is massive and he's not exactly "the issue" in Atlanta.

It's hard to bet on Atlanta because they swing between bad, almost shocking losses, and close losses to similar competition. The defense continues to be an eyesore since their pass rushers and secondary are mediocre to bad any given week. Their sixth-ranked run defense is more of a function that teams continue to be pass-heavy than their talent.

That's bad news against a high-performing passing attack that the Panthers boast. Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a great game where he was playing with extreme confidence and playmaking. Joe Brady has been excellent with Bridgewater despite the team missing Christian McCaffrey.

Can the Falcons Get Back on Track?

I don't see the Falcons being overly effective at anything on defense this week. The Panthers' receivers are fast and dangerous, and D.J. Moore's 74-yard touchdown only re-emphasized that point this past week. Take out bad performances against the Buccaneers and Bears, and this offense has been one of the most consistent despite having so many new faces and young bodies.

Carolina's defense has been decent but Atlanta will score as well. That's great news for the total, which is reasonably set at 51. We hit several wins on the Panthers-Saints matchup, and can do the same this week. Atlanta can function as a value version of the Saints.

Prediction

We're going to take the Panthers to cover -3 at -105 NFL odds along with the moneyline since that only makes sense to add some free money if they hit the former bet. We'll also take the over on points and that the Panthers will be the more explosive offense. Atlanta's defense is more vulnerable to big plays, whereas the Panthers will allow Ryan to nickel and dime them downfield.

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