Game Predictions & Player Projections - CAR vs ATL

Game Predictions & Player Projections - CAR vs ATL


Game Predictions & Player Projections - CAR vs ATL

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Prediction: CAR 20, ATL 27 (Line: ATLby 4)

UPDATE: Steven Jackson never practiced this week and is questionable on the injury report. He is unlikely to play this week and would not be completely healthy if he did. I am removing him from the projections on the obvious risk.

This is the battle for the NFC South where a team with a losing record is going to win their division and host a playoff game prior to just watching the rest of the playoffs. This is a replay of week 11 when the Falcons won 19-17 in Carolina.

Carolina Panthers

1 @TB 20-14 10 @PHI 21-45
2 DET 24-7 11 ATL 17-19
3 PIT 19-37 12 BYE —-
4 @BAL 10-38 13 @MIN 13-31
5 CHI 31-24 14 @NO 41-10
6 @CIN 37-37 15 TB 19-17
7 @GB 17-38 16 CLE 17-13
8 SEA 9-13 17 @ATL —–
9 NO 10-29  
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40 260,2
RB Jonathan Stewart 80 1-10
WR Kelvin Benjamin 8-110,2
WR Philly Brown 2-20
TE Greg Olsen 7-80
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers have won their last three games though are only 2-4-1 on the road and have been largely punchless on offense aside from playing the Saints. This game will be a tall order for a team that doesn’t travel well and already lost to the Falcons at home.

QUARTERBACK : Cam Newton let the win last Sunday with his back having no ill effects from his fractured transverse process. He even ran for 63 yards on 12 rushes and scored once as a runner. He passed for 201 yards and a score on the Browns as well. Newton threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns in the earlier loss to the Falcons.

RUNNING BACK : This remains one of the worst units in the NFL and that is no different from any year since Newton showed up to drain the value from the backfield. Back in week 11, the rotation had no runner with more than 41 yards and none scored. But DeAngelo Williams missed the last three games and Jonathan Stewart has rushed far better than he had in years. He gained 155 yards and a score in New Orleans and 79 yards versus the Buccaneers. Last week he gained 129 yards against the Browns and caught a touchdown. I will assume Williams remains out and that Stewart has a chance to matter this time.

WIDE RECEIVER : Kelvin Benjamin winds down a tremendous rookie season with nine touchdowns and three 100 yard games. He’s dominated the receiving for the Panthers to the point where there is no other wideout that had any fantasy value here. All other wideouts combined for only five touchdowns and they turned in only two games where someone other than Benjamin had more than 70 yards. Back in week 11, Benjamin posted nine catches for 109 yards and one touchdown. Philly Brown scored once in that game but has never had any fantasy relevance while Jerricho Cotchery only managed two receptions for 43 yards that week. Cotchery has just one score on the year.

TIGHT END : Greg Olsen has been one of he most productive and consistent tight ends in the league. He accounted for five catches for 61 yards in the earlier loss to the Falcons but has six touchdowns on the season and three efforts over 100 yards.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: There has not been much change on either team since week 11 and on the road the Panthers have typically been less productive. But this is an interdivisional game and one for all the marbles. The Falcons defense is nothing special even at home. There are only four relevant players for the Panthers – Newton, Olsen and Benjamin who already did well and should again have at least moderate to good stats. And Stewart so long as Williams remains out or not involved is worth at least some consideration.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 8 31 23 6 14 23
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 23 32 29 9 26 14

Atlanta Falcons

1 NO 37-34 10 @TB 27-17
2 @CIN 10-24 11 @CAR 19-17
3 TB 56-14 12 CLE 24-26
4 @MIN 28-41 13 ARI 29-18
5 @NYG 20-30 14 @GB 37-43
6 CHI 13-27 15 PIT 20-27
7 @BAL 7-29 16 @NO 30-14
8 DET 21-22 17 CAR —–
9 BYE —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 20 320,2
RB Devonta Freeman 40,1 2-20
WR Julio Jones 8-120,1
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-50
TE Levine Toilolo 2-20
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons have lost two of their last three games but then came up big in New Orleans to make this game have meaning. The defense continues to be a problem particularly when facing high-powered offenses but the Falcons offense has also been playing far better down the stretch and should have all hands on deck for this week. It may seem incredible that a losing record can win a division but the Falcons are well positioned to gain that and then at least bring a .500 home record into the playoffs.

QUARTERBACK : This has quietly been a good year for Matt Ryan who scored in every game with 28 touchdowns in the season and over 300 yards in each of the last four games. Ryan passed for only 268 yards and one score in Carolina but has been on a very hot streak here at the end of the year.

RUNNING BACK : Steven Jackson only ran for 41 yards on 17 carries in Carolina gut has scored six times on the season and has usually been better in home games where he had his only 100 yard effort of the year. But the rotation is intact that limits Jackson who injured his quad last week and will get treatments for it this week. I will assume that he can play with no significant limitations as even in his best condition he’s only marginally relevant. Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman have been of little consequence all year other than to diminish the workload for Jackson. Freeman did score just last week for his first touchdown of the year. His rookie season winds down with nothing that says he’s ready to take over the primary role.

WIDE RECEIVER : This is a solid wideout crew led by Julio Jones who played with a strained oblique last week and still gained 107 yards on seven catches in New Orleans after sitting out week 15. That gives him three straight 100 yard efforts in his most recent games. Jones caught six passes for 59 yards in week 11. Roddy White accounted for eight catches for 75 yards and one score in that game and Harry Douglas ended with 46 yards on four receptions. These last four weeks have been very productive for the wideouts.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Panthers already lost to the Falcons at home and the Falcons are playing much better in the passing game for the last month. The Panthers allowed just ten passing scores in their eight home games but 15 scores in the seven road games along with three 300 yard passing games. The Panthers are also great at home versus the run with just three scores allowed to running backs and yet nine in road games. Ryan, White, Jones and possibly Jackson should shine here.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 7 7 1 32 8 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 21 19 20 14 16 20

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