Panthers vs. Falcons: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after a play in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos during their game at the Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Coming off a beat down at the hands of the New York Giants, the 1-2 Carolina Panthers will travel to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons for an NFC South matchup that's sure to please.

The Falcons enter this game following a a 27-3 dismantling of the San Diego Chargers on the road in Week 3 and will get a struggling Cam Newton this Sunday.

Let's take a look at the complete game information, including the betting odds and fantasy help.

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

When: 1 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Spread: Falcons -7.5 (Bovada)

The Atlanta offense is absolutely rolling through Week 3, and with a home game this Sunday, I'd take the Falcons to cover.

Atlanta is 3-0 against the spread this season and has shown no signs of slowing down after a 27-3 win over the Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium.

The Falcons have dominated this matchup in the past, winning six out of the last seven games against the Panthers, including five of them by at least eight points.

Take the Falcons on Sunday.

Over/Under: 48.5 (Bovada)

I like the over in this situation.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense have shown no problems of putting points on the board and I think Cam Newton will bounce back and have a solid day.

If you're not convinced, peep this: The total has gone over in seven of Carolina's last 10 games, including four out of six on the road.

Atlanta is averaging 31.3 PPG in 2012 and I think that continues this Sunday.

I'm taking the over.

Key Injuries: (via CBS Sports)




CAR RB Jonathan Stewart—TOE—QST

ATL DT Jonathan Babineaux—GROIN—QST


ATL LB Stephen Nicholas—THIGH—QST

Big Fantasy Players

Steve Smith

Despite a struggling quarterback, wideout Steve Smith has been productive for fantasy owners.

He may not have any TDs, but he does have 14 receptions on 19 targets and 296 receiving yards, which puts him in the top five in the NFL.

Smith is Newton's clear No. 1 and should have a big day against the Falcons' defense.

ESPN fantasy football expert Christopher Harris ranks Smith as the seventh-best WR in Week 4. 

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan has been unstoppable in three games this season.

Ryan's 114 passer rating leads the NFL and his eight touchdowns to one interception aren't too shabby either.

The Panthers' D showed they were susceptible to the pass in Week 3, letting Eli Manning complete 27-of-35 passes for 288 yards and a TD.

ESPN's Matthew Berry has Ryan has the third-best QB this week, but you could easily make the argument he should be No. 1.

Big day for Ryan this Sunday.

Keys to a Panthers Win: Find Offensive Groove

Covering the Giants vs. Panthers live blog last Thursday, I noticed that Carolina just didn't have any rhythm on the offensive side.

Cam Newton was extremely inconsistent, completing just 16 of 30 passes and throwing three picks on his way to a dismal performance before the home crowd.

In a hostile environment this Sunday, Newton and the Panthers need to find a solid balance of rush and pass and get into a groove, keeping Matt Ryan on the sideline.

Keys to a Falcons Win: Don't Deviate From What Works

Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been blowing opponents out by throwing the football, so why change that?

Ryan has three deadly targets in Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez and when Ryan is completing 72 percent of his passes, you've got to stick with what works.

Some Michael Turner carries should keep the Panthers' D guessing, allowing big gains for the Falcons through the air.

Prediction: Falcons 35, Carolina 17

Cam Newton puts together a solid effort this Sunday but it's not enough to overcome the dominant offense displayed by Atlanta.

Ryan throws for three touchdowns in route to a 4-0 start for the Falcons over the Panthers.

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