CAR-ATL Free Pick
Two of the best teams in the NFC South will meet at the Georgia Dome on Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons host the Carolina Panthers at 1:00PM ET.
Jake Delhomme and the Panthers got off to a horrible start to the 2009 season as the Eagles drubbed Carolina 38-10 in Week 1. Delhomme totaled just 73 passing yards and threw a whopping four interceptions. Playing from behind the entire game, running back DeAngelo Williams couldn’t get going and was held to just 37 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
The Falcons had more success in their ’09 opener as they beat Miami 19-7. Second year quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including one to new tight end Tony Gonzalez (5 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD). The Falcons easily covered the 4-point spread as the favorite.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made the Falcons 6-point home favorites over the Panthers. The over/under total for this matchup has been set at 42.5.
While it would be easy to dump on Delhomme with the way he looked last week and in the 2008 playoffs, we actually think he’ll play better this week in Atlanta. John Fox will probably take the game out of his quarterback’s hands and place it on the square shoulders of Williams, who should have some success against an inconsistent Falcon front seven.
We expect the Panthers to use the run to set up the play action pass and then try to get the ball into dynamic receiver Steve Smith’s hands. The Falcons don’t have the cornerbacks to keep up with Smith, so he would be dangerous in one-on-one coverage.
That said, the Falcons have too many weapons for the Panthers to contend with. If Carolina sells out to stop Michael Turner and the running game, then Ryan will beat them with his array of weapons, including Gonzo and Roddy White. We expect Carolina to keep the game close, but for the Falcons to pull away with a victory.
Take the points and the Panthers, along with the over. The total has gone over in four of Carolina’s last five games when playing on the road against Atlanta.
Our NFL Free Picks for this Week 2 matchup are: CAROLINA PANTHERS +6 and OVER 42.5.
217 Carolina Panthers +6 Over 42.5 Moneyline +220
218 Atlanta Falcons –6 Under 42.5 Moneyline -260
Carolina is 7-14-4 ATS in its last 25 games when playing Atlanta
Carolina is 7-15 SU in its last 22 games when playing Atlanta
Atlanta is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home
Atlanta is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games at home
Chris Harris, S, Doubtful Week 2 (knee)
Nick Hayden, DT, Questionable Week 2 (toe)
Everette Brown, DE, Probable Week 2 (ankle)
Charles Johnson, DE, Probable Week 2 (knee)
Sherrod Martin, CB, Probable Week 2 (knee)
Jeff Otah, T, Probable Week 2 (shoulder)
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Probable Week 2 (heel)
William Moore, S, Questionable Week 2 (hamstring)
Jason Elam, K, Probable Week 2 (left hamstring)
Peria Jerry, DT, Probable Week 2 (chest)
Posted: 9/20/09 8:30AM ET