On the Line: Panthers at Falcons

C3 On the Line series bets the Carolina Panthers line and discusses the stakes of the game in the context of the Panthers season. CarolinaCatChronicles.com On the Line is not betting advice, but a means for football discussion. 

Panthers at Falcons

Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Falcons -3.5 (47.5 O/U)

Week 17 and everything is on the line for the NFC South.  It's a simple equation, the winner is in, and the loser is out.  The NFC South will have a representative in the playoffs, and that playoff game will be a home match.  The question is will it be in Atlanta or Charlotte.  Sunday, the two teams will settle the score. 

Here’s a look at what’s On the Line for the Carolina Panthers.

All Bets Are In:

Professor’s Bet: Panthers  +3.5  (Taking the Over) 

It’s all on the line, and the Panthers have to go to Atlanta and settle up.  There’s really not much analysis that will help me make my decision. The Falcons act as if they are 13-3 because they are 5-0 against a division that stinks. The Panthers, who have been a part of the odor, however, are surging. That’s right, Carolina has found the magic recipe of rookie and backup offensive linemen that gives Cam a reasonable amount of time.  In addition, Carolina has developed a run game because of the relentless  Jonathan Stewart.  Throw in a defense that has young guys playing big in the secondary and a defensive line finding itself, and you have a great recipe for a road dog delivering an upset. Give me the Panther to win.  Call me a homer, but carpe diem

Panthers 27-24 

Commish’s Bet: Panthers + 3.5 (Taking the Under)

Just about everything says the Panthers should win this game. The Falcons have NOT had the great home field advantage in the past two seasons they usually do. Carolina is on a 3-game winning streak and playing their best ball of the year, peaking at the right time. However, I read an article yesterday about the Panthers wearing their “all-white” jerseys and wondered why the organization is doing something like this in the first place. Seems innocent enough, but I see no good coming from a minor distraction and in fact got one of my “feelings” about the upcoming game when I saw the article. I have absolutely no rational reason to feel this way, but when I get a feeling of dread, it’s almost never wrong so I’m going with it. Hate to say it, but I think the Panthers drop the ball in a game where so many things point to their dominance. 

Falcons 21-20

Justin Raymond’s Bet: Panthers +3.5  (Taking the Under)

‘Tis the season to be thankful for the Carolina Panthers having an opportunity to win the NFC South. It is also the season to be giving, and that is why the Atlanta Falcons are going to lose this game. Matt Ryan is known for not playing well in the playoffs, and this is a playoff game. Matty Ryan has played in five playoff games, and has thrown seven interceptions. Josh Norman and Bene’ Benwikere could have their hands “full” this game. The Panthers defense will need to put pressure on Matt Ryan, and shut down Julio Jones. If they can do that, the Panthers will be the first to repeat as the NFC South Champion.

Panthers 21 Falcons 17

Mel Mayock: Panthers +3.5 (taking the over 47)

This is the 40th meeting between the Falcons and Panthers.  The Falcons lead the series 24-15.  Everything is on the line this week and it really could go either way.  The Falcons are playing better and they laid the hammer down on the Saints.  But because our defense is playing so much better of late, I see us keeping the improved Falcons under 25 points and here is where the difference is:  Cam Newton is Mr. December.  When the game means the most, Cam rises to the occasion.  Only one QB has more wins in December (since 2011) and that is Tom Brady.  Think about that.  Cam has 27 TDs in December and a 94 Passer-rating.  By far his best month.  So I see the Panthers pulling away in this one and being the first repeat NFC South Champs!

Panthers 38 Falcons 24

Freak’n Puerto Rican: Panthers +3.5 (Taking the Under) 

The Panthers roll into the Georgia Dome on a three game win streak. Cam and the offense seem to have found a rhythm and the defense is finally rounding into form. This season has been a roller coaster ride. Panther fans have run the gamut of emotions. We have had some really high, highs (thrashing the Lions at home in week 2) and some really low, lows (losing six straight games) and everything in between. Despite this up and down season, we are in position to win the division and host a playoff game. 

What’s “on the line” for Carolina this week is everything. The Panthers are treating this match up against Atlanta as a playoff game because the stakes are that high. 
Ron Rivera and the coaching staff have done well getting the most out of this team as of late. Thanks in part to some players returning from injury and others solidifying key positions, the team has been transformed from a train wreck into a wrecking machine. 

This one is for all the marbles. The Panthers will beat the Falcons in Atlanta this week and I believe will make a run in the playoffs. This one should be a good game and I for one can not wait until Sunday 4:25 EST.  

Panthers 21 Falcons 17