Sunday, October 11, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, 1 p.m. ET
Panthers at Falcons Betting Preview: Panthers (+1.5/-110), Falcons (-1.5/-110)
Carolina is gaining confidence under first-year coach Matt Rhule and has won two straight games after losing its first two. Both victories have come without star runner Christian McCaffrey (ankle) and fill-in starter Mike Davis showed life with 84 rushing yards in last Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Receiver Robby Anderson is faring well with 28 receptions for 377 yards.
The Panthers have relied on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with McCaffrey absent and he has been solid with 1,147 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Bridgewater has completed 73.1 percent of his passes, a superb rate considering these are his first games in the offense after the lack of a preseason. Cornerback Donte Jackson has two interceptions for the Panthers, who are allowing an average of 25.5 points.
Cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring) was a limited practice participant Wednesday after being hurt during Sunday’s win over the Cardinals. Left tackle Russell Okung (groin) was limited and hopes to return after a two-game absence.
Atlanta has won eight of the past nine meetings so this matchup makes for good timing for a squad mired in an 0-4 start. Coach Dan Quinn’s job security is tenuous so an uncompetitive loss would be a huge detriment.
The defense is allowing 34.5 points per game with the secondary ravaged by injuries, the most recent being a season-ending Achilles tendon tear for safety Damontae Kazee during Monday night’s 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has passed for 1,246 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions while guiding the offense to 26.5 points per game.
Wideout Julio Jones (hamstring) missed the second half of the loss to the Packers and the franchise’s all-time receptions leader (812) will be observed closely late in the week. Running back Todd Gurley scored twice against Green Bay and has rushed for 254 yards and four scores.
Atlanta hopes to get safeties Keanu Neal (hamstring) and Ricardo Allen (elbow) back and that would aid the secondary. Losing Kazee, who had seven interceptions two seasons ago, is a major blow.
Panthers at Falcons Betting Pick for Week 5
Either team could win this contest despite Atlanta’s recent dominance in the series. Bridgewater wasn’t the quarterback during that time so Quinn and his defensive staff had a different signal caller to prepare for. The Falcons can score and this is a game in which their firepower gives them the edge.
Panthers at Falcons Betting Pick:
Falcons 27, Panthers 23
Panthers at Falcons Best Bet for Week 5
Carolina’s defense has been vastly improved over the past two games and it is a trend that could continue. If Atlanta can slow the Panthers and avoid allowing big gainers, this one could point under.
Panthers at Falcons Best Bet: UNDER 54.5 points (-110)