Panthers, Falcons will run the ball like crazy; Delhomme will Blow the Game

Panthers, Falcons will run the ball like crazy; Delhomme will blow the game It's not a hair-raising bout like Pacquiao Cotto odds, but Atlanta vs. Carolina should still have nice entertainment value, particularly if you like seeing lots of rushing yards.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Sunday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET

NFL betting line: Falcons -1.5

The Falcons (5-3) snapped a two-game losing streak by knocking off the Redskins 31-17. Michael Turner destroyed Washington with 166 yards; he's on fire right now, as he busted loose for 151 two weeks ago against New Orleans. Matt Ryan was a little underwhelming though he didn't need to do much last Sunday. He's been steady this season, but it hasn't been the breakout campaign many expected.

Defensively, Atlanta could be better. Holding the Redskins to 17 points is no big deal but the Falcons were shredded two weeks ago against the Saints (of course, who isn't?). Atlanta's rush defense is among the worst in the NFL at 123 yards per game.

That's good news for the Panthers, who have run the ball brilliantly lately. DeAngelo Williams is averaging nearly 140 yards per game in his last four starts while adding five touchdowns. He's also had a lot of help from running mate Jonathan Stewart, who has three touchdowns in the same span. The less quarterback Jake Delhomme throws the ball, the better.

Carolina allowed 24 second-half points to lose to New Orleans last week. The Panthers did a solid job against the run, but that's usually not the case; the Panthers allow 122 yards rushing per game. Pressure on the quarterback was very insignificant, though, as Drew Brees was sacked just one time. That doesn't inspire confidence in sportsbook bettors.

Both Carolina and Atlanta like running the ball and, right now, they're excelling at it. There should be wide open spaces since neither can stop the ground game, which puts added pressure on the quarterbacks. With both teams playing grind-it-out, possession-type football, one or two mistakes by the quarterback can change the game. That gives a big edge to Ryan and the Falcons over mistake-prone Delhomme. Bet on the Panthers with your NFL picks.


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