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Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 16 Betting Preview – December 24, 2016

Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 16 Betting Preview – December 24, 2016

Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Preview

Where: Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina

When: Saturday, December 24, 8:30 PM ET

Line: Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers (+2.5); total 52.0view all NFL lines

TV Broadcast: NBC

Writer’s Pick: Atlanta Falcons (-2.5)

NFL News and Previews

Betting on the Atlanta Falcons (-2.5)

The Atlanta Falcons (9-5) are playing like a team that desperately wants to return to the playoffs. For the second straight week, the Falcons blew the doors off a very poor NFC West team. After rocking the Los Angeles Rams 42-14, they showed no mercy in a 41-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The OVER has now gone 8-1 in the Falcons’ last nine games.

The Atlanta running game had an absolute field day as it gained 248 yards on the ground against the Niners. Devonta Freeman led the way with 139 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Matt Ryan also had another highly efficient day as he completed 74 percent of his passes and threw two touchdowns despite the continued absence of wide receiver Julio Jones.

Ryan and the Falcons offense tore the Panthers to shreds in their first meeting this season, a 48-33 Falcons win. Ryan threw for a career-high 503 yards with 4 TDs, while Jones went for 300 receiving yards. Jones is close to returning after missing the last three games, but might not be back to 100 percent just yet.

However, this Falcons offense has more than enough weapons on the ground and through the air to put points on the board even with Jones not at his best. Atlanta’s offense leads the league with 33.5 points per game, 4.5 points more than the 2nd-place New Orleans Saints.

Carolina’s defense has improved since their Week 4 meeting, but with Cam Newton banged up and the Panthers playing on a short week, the Falcons offense will still be the most dependable unit for either team.

Betting on the Carolina Panthers (+2.5)

The Panthers may be out of the playoff race, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking to end the season strong. They won their second game in a row, 26-15, on the road against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. The resurgent Panthers are now 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games.

For the second straight game, the Carolina defense came to play. They held the prolific Washington offense to just 15 points, and forced three turnovers. They have now gotten eight takeaways in their last two games.

Despite battling a shoulder injury, Cam Newton had one of his best passing games of the season as he completed 21-of-37 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Stewart also had a productive night with 132 yards on 25 carries.

Stewart missed the first meeting against Atlanta this season due to injury. His presence in this upcoming matchup will be a big boost to the Panthers offense as an improved ground game can help take the pressure off of Newton. The Falcons remain one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, ranking 28th per DVOA.

The Panthers have won three of their last four home games, and have also enjoyed a fair bit of home-field advantage against Atlanta. They are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games against the Falcons.

Writer’s Prediction

The Falcons (-2.5) take another step toward playoff contention, as they beat the Panthers, 32-27.

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Written by Brad

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