The Panthers and Falcons met in Week 5 in Atlanta, with Carolina coming away with a 23-16 victory. Both teams lost in Week 7 and divisional games are usually pretty competitive, so this should be a good contest between the Panthers and Falcons.
Carolina is on a two-game losing streak after losing to the Chicago Bears in Week 6 and the New Orleans Saints in Week 7. The Falcons, meanwhile, fell to the Detroit Lions in Week 7 after getting their first win of the season in Week 6 versus the Minnesota Vikings.
With the Panthers-Falcons game hours away, let’s take a look at four bold predictions for the game from a Carolina point of view.
1. Teddy Bridgewater throws for at least two touchdowns
In Week 5 against the Falcons, Teddy Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns while completing 75.0 percent of his passes. Atlanta is ranked 31st in the NFL in defensive passing yards per game, so look for Bridgewater to feast against the Falcons at home in a nationally televised game.
In his first season with the Panthers, Bridgewater has thrown for 1,930 yards and eight touchdowns. He has five interceptions as well and is completing 72.2 percent of his passes. All in all, it’s just great to see Teddy back as a starting QB in the NFL after the gruesome knee injury he suffered a few years back in Minnesota.
Against an awful Falcons defense, all signs point toward Bridgewater going off and having one of his better games of the season. Look for the 27-year-old to throw for at least two touchdown passes versus the Falcons and have a high completion rate.
2. Robby Anderson eclipses 100-yard mark
Panthers wideout Robby Anderson has been Bridgewater’s No. 1 target thus far this season. The speedster has caught 46 balls for 640 yards and one touchdown.
In Week 5 against the Falcons, Anderson was unstoppable from start to finish. He recorded eight receptions for 112 yards and also had a rushing touchdown. Atlanta doesn’t have anyone in the secondary who can defend or keep up with Anderson on the deep routes.
With that being said, look for Bridgewater to target Anderson a lot in Week 8. Robby should be able to easily eclipse the 100-yard mark again since the Falcons have a terrible secondary. While he wants to get the win no matter what, Anderson is also looking to get in the end zone since he only has one receiving touchdown thus far this season.
3. Panthers pick off Matt Ryan twice
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is still a high-level player and has only thrown three interceptions on the season. In Week 5 against the Panthers, the former MVP threw for 226 yards, but he didn’t throw a touchdown pass and was picked off by Panthers cornerback Juston Burris.
The Falcons have an explosive offense with Ryan, star wideout Julio Jones and former Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley leading the way. However, there’s a reason Atlanta only has one win on the season. They make huge mistakes at the worst possible times.
With that being said, look for Ryan to have a pretty good game through three quarters, but then make a few mistakes in the fourth quarter. The Panthers should be able to intercept Ryan at least two times in this contest and turn those mistakes into points.
4. Panthers defeat Falcons to improve to 4-4
Carolina will improve to 2-0 on the season against the Falcons and 4-4 overall. The team is hungry to get back in the win column after losing to the Bears and Saints in back-to-back weeks, while the Falcons are still getting used to playing for Raheem Morris, who took over for Dan Quinn after Week 5.
The Panthers’ offense shouldn’t have a problem moving the ball down the field against a putrid Falcons team that can’t seem to stop anyone right now. Atlanta is allowing 29.6 points per game and their only win came against the Vikings, who aren’t that good either with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
His early record doesn’t show it, but Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is a good first-year tactician. The players enjoy playing for him and always play until the final whistle, which is evident by the Panthers’ scoreboard this season. Despite being one game below .500, Carolina hasn’t lost a game this season by more than 14 points.
The Panthers enter Week 8 in third place in the NFC South standings. They trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Saints.