A quick turnaround might be exactly what the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons need.
The NFC South foes return to action Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., 11 days after a 37-34 shootout between the same teams in Georgia.
The Falcons (4-5) coughed up a lead in Sunday’s 20-17 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers drop into a tie with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South. But with little time to lament missed opportunities, Atlanta swiftly fixed its focus to the Panthers.
The Falcons pulled out an overtime victory against the Panthers, who twice had potential game-winning kicks go off the mark. Preparing scouting reports might not be as complex as a normal short week in the case.
“Thankfully, we just played Carolina and we’re very familiar with them,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “It doesn’t mean it will be the same thing. They’ll adjust their plan and we’ll have to adjust ours.”
There’s a lot going on with the Panthers (2-7). But like their division foes, Carolina doesn’t have much time to dwell on it.
Interim coach Steve Wilks said it’s critical that the team keeps tabs on following through and trusting the process, which is part of the reason he’ll ride with quarterback PJ Walker. Walker had a 0.0 quarterback rating with two interceptions and three completions when he was benched for Baker Mayfield last week.
The Panthers faced a 35-point halftime deficit, which became a 42-21 loss Sunday at Cincinnati.
“We all have bad games,” Wilks said. “PJ wasn’t the only one. I could bench everybody if we go off bad games.”
The Falcons are consensus 2.5-point favorites. They have been backed by 81 percent of the spread-line bets and money at DraftKings, 80 and 82 percent at BetMGM and 69 and 55 percent at BetRivers.
Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson Anytime TD (+110 at BetMGM): This is the second-most popular prop bet at the sportsbook, right behind Patterson at +650 to score the first touchdown of the game. The Panthers are 28th against the run and gave up five total touchdowns to Bengals RB Joe Mixon last week. Patterson missed the first meeting between the teams due to a knee injury, but scored a pair of touchdowns in his return last weekend.
Under 41.5 Total Points (-100 at BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings): These teams combined for 71 points two weeks ago, but that was in an overtime game. On a short week, the public is backing the Under in the rematch. It has drawn 64 percent of the money at BetMGM and 62 percent at DraftKings. However, the Over has received 54 percent of the handle action at BetRivers.
Falcons QB Marcus Mariota Over 05 Passing TDs (-235 at DraftKings): This is among the most popular props at the sportsbook despite Mariota’s inconsistency this season. He has failed to throw a touchdown in three of nine games this season, but Mariota did pass for 253 yards with three touchdowns in the first meeting and Carolina is giving up an average of 25.3 points per game.
Panthers: Team sack leader Brian Burns (shoulder) and cornerback Donte Jackson (ankle) were full participants in Tuesday’s practice and Wednesday’s session. Burns does not carry an injury designation, while Jackson is listed as questionable to play. Running back Chuba Hubbard (ankle), defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis (back) and right tackle Taylor Moton (elbow) are also questionable.
Falcons: Offensive lineman Matt Hennessy (knee) is out along with starting cornerback A.J. Terrell (hamstring), safety Erik Harris (foot) and tight end Feleipe Franks (calf).
This is a critical road game for the Falcons who face a stretch leading into their bye week that includes home games against Chicago and Pittsburgh sandwiched around a trip to Washington. Atlanta should be able to control field position with their ground game, which also helps protect the Falcons’ 31st-ranked defense. –Falcons 20-17
–Field Level Media