Panthers vs. Falcons, 1 ET
Talk about two teams that are wildly inconsistent. The Panthers have already waived the white flag on their season with the trade of Christian McCaffery – that or they are just sick of dealing with his injuries. The Falcons have won some games they shouldn’t have but they also lost some of them that they probably should’ve won.
Coming into the season, I expected the Panthers to be competent and pretty solid overall. I was wrong at least through a third of the season. They look bad on both sides of the ball and even with a surprising win last week, they don’t have much hope. I also expected Baker Mayfield to become a better quarterback than what he has shown. He hasn’t connected well with his receivers and still hasn’t thrown for 1,000 yards on the season. They have fared well against their divisional opponents though with two wins against the NFC South. If they can get their offense going, this might be a year they can somewhat salvage. They are only allowing 21 points per game to opponents, but they are only putting up roughly 18 points on offense.
If we want to talk about a resurgence for a career – which I thought Mayfield would have – we need to really look at Marcus Mariota. Mariota on the season has completed over 60% of his passes and thrown for seven touchdowns. He does have 4 interceptions to go with it, and isn’t getting a ton of yardage, but he is doing well. For a mobile quarterback, he has a few concerns that I think need to be addressed. He needs to avoid more sacks – he’s been sacked 17 times this year. He also has fumbled the ball five times. If he can avoid the turnovers, the Falcons might be 4-3 or even 5-2 for the season. Three of their losses were by just one score, and they only lost the turnover battle in one of those, but if they controlled the turnovers in some of the others you’d have to imagine their fate would be different.
This being a divisional matchup, I think the game might be a little tighter. The Panthers defense is still strong and neither offense is playing great right now. I’m going to play under 41 for the game. It isn’t a high amount of points, but I could see this being a 21-17 type of game.
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