A vital NFC South clash between the Atlanta Falcons and the Panthers could determine which of these clubs punches their ticket to the post season. Perhaps the most competitive division in the NFL, the Bucs and the Saints will battle the Panthers and Falcons for playoff positioning throughout the 2018 regular season.
The Carolina Panthers started their season successfully with a strong 16-8 week one victory over the Dallas Cowboys, neutralizing Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. Carolina’s defense will face a tough challenge against the Falcons offense, ranked first in the league two only two seasons ago. Atlanta dropped their season opener against the defending champs, unable to establish the pass against the Eagles outstanding defensive line and secondary. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should enjoy improved productivity at home, against a Panthers defense which isn’t as dominant as Philly.
Cam Newton had a solid first outing against the Cowboys, rushing for 58 yards and a TD while accumulating 161 yards in the air with a tidy 65.4% completion rate. Atlanta’s defense is one of the more underrated units in the NFL. As such, the Falcons will probably suppress the Panthers offense by focusing on taking away the run.
A -5.5 point spread on behalf of the Falcons may seem extreme because of Atlanta’s loss to open the season, but Carolina’s win over an overrated Dallas team wasn’t impressive at all. Expect the Falcons to bounce back with a big win over Newton and the Panthers.