Week 10 of the regular season of the NFL will kick off with another matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte tonight. It’s an NFC South rematch between two teams with losing records, which should at least add some entertainment to break up the week.
Carolina occupies the basement, with two wins and seven losses. The Falcons share the division lead with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the 4-5 record for both teams shows the magnitude of the NFC slump.
Of the 16 teams in the NFC, 10 have even or losing records. In contrast, seven of the AFC teams are in the hole. Slightly more than halfway through the season, the majority of the standings don’t reflect what analysts predicted back in August.
Carolina Blew The Last One
After the disaster they were last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, allowing 35 unanswered points in the first half alone, the Panthers had to change their QB for the second half and give Baker Mayfield confidence. PJ Walker started against the Bengals, but his self-proclaimed “boneheaded mistakes” cost the team.
|Spread||-2.5 (-120)||+2.5 (+100)|
|Over/under||O42.5 (-110)||U42.5 (-110)|
|Courtesy of Caesars|
Despite Mayfield having picked up 155 yards and two TDs as he took over, he’s not starting today. Interim head coach Steve Wilks announced that Walker will receive a chance to redeem himself.
The Panthers have entered a clear reconstruction process so that this team can fight again next year. That includes the firing of both their head coach and several members of the special teams and defense coaching staff. It also includes sending Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, where he’s already making an impact.
The Falcons are fighting for the top of the NFC South. Their last game against the L.A. Chargers got out of hand, even though they had a couple of opportunities to take control. Ultimate, they couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of them and lost 20-17.
They have not been impressive numbers, but the offense under QB Marcus Mariota has had another dimension. So far, he has completed 61.7% of his passes for 1,561 yards and has picked up 10 touchdowns.
However, his six interceptions this season have been costly. In addition, against the Chargers, he only had 129 yards and didn’t add a single TD.
The Play’s On Atlanta
The Falcons have a historic dominance of the series with a record of 35 wins and 20 losses. They have also taken three of the last five games, including their ridiculous OT win in Week 8. The Panthers had two golden opportunities to secure the win, but screwed up both of them.
On a game-winning Hail Mary, Carolina tied the score, but received a penalty that pushed back the extra point 15 yards. Eddy Pineiro then botched the point-after that would have won the game, sending it off into nowhere.
In OT, the Panthers were in control from the start. They only needed to connect a field goal to win what had been a hard-fought game. Pineiro could have been their savior, but missed an easy 33-yard attempt. The Falcons took over and won by a field goal.
Those misses will ring loud and heavy tonight. Adding to their difficulties, the Panthers have a laundry list of injuries on both sides of the ball.
Backing the Falcons is the consensus among sports bettors, but the 42 over/under is questionable. Charlotte is looking at rain and high winds, which means an aerial assault by either team isn’t likely. Ground games chew up the clock more and, in addition, Carolina hasn’t shown that it’s capable of mounting a strong ground attack.
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