Inside the Numbers: Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons

Previewing the Carolina Panthers week eight matchup
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The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons will be in action tonight for some Thursday Night Football after a short week of preparation. The Panthers (3-4) are coming off a disappointing loss to the Saints in a game that they could have won. On the other hand, the Falcons (1-6) are coming off of a more disappointing loss after blowing yet another lead, this time at the hands of the Detroit Lions.

Today, we take a deep dive into the numbers and see which team has an advantage ahead tonight's showdown.

When the Panthers have the ball

Panthers OffenseSeason StatsFalcons Defense

369.1 (16th)

Yards Per Game/Allowed

425.9 (31st)

105.4 (T-20th)

Rushing YPG/Allowed

92.4 (6th)

4.1 (19th)

Rushing Yards Per Attempt

3.9 (7th)

263.7 (11th)

Passing YPG/Allowed

333.4 (31st)

13 (T-16th)

Sacks

10 (T-24th)

46.9% (8th)

3rd down efficiency

40% (13th)

23.1 (25th)

Points Per Game/Allowed

29.6 (26th)

The rainy weather is going to be talked about all day for this game because there is a good chance that it could play a big factor in how these two teams operate offensively. If there wasn't any rain predicted in the forecast, I would say that the Panthers would just pick apart the Atlanta secondary all night long and move the ball up and down the field with Teddy Bridgewater in the passing game. However, I don't see that happening with the rain. They'll have to rely on Mike Davis, Trenton Cannon, and Curtis Samuel in the running game to ensure ball security. Despite the Falcons allowing nearly 30 points per game, they have done really well against the run and if the Panthers are forced to keep it on the ground, it may bode well for Atlanta defensively.

Advantage: Atlanta

When the Falcons have the ball

Falcons OffenseStatsPanthers Defense

401 (6th)

Total YPG/Allowed

351.1 (13th)

105.4 (20th)

Rushing YPG/Allowed

124 (18th)

3.8 (29th)

Rushing Yards Per Attempt

4.9 (28th)

295.6 (3rd)

Passing YPG/Allowed

227.1 (10th)

15 (T-20th)

Sacks

6 (T-31st)

44% (12th)

3rd down efficiency

56.3 (31st)

26.3 (13th)

Points Per Game/Allowed

24 (13th)

In the season's first matchup, Carolina had a tough time stopping Todd Gurley and the Falcons' running game. With one game to go off of, I think Carolina will have a better plan pieced together to be able to not eliminate, but slow down Gurley and the impact that he has on the field. Julio Jones did not play in the first game, but will be in action tonight which gives this depleted Panthers secondary a whole lot of issues alongside Calvin Ridley. If the Falcons get any rhythm going in the passing game, it could be trouble for Carolina. The Panthers are clearly overmatched in this aspect and I'm not sure that the duo of Ridley and Jones can be held in check. Carolina has to hope they lean on the run game and try to force them to throw the ball in tight windows.

Advantage: Atlanta

Prediction: Panthers 17, Falcons 14

Sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole truth. Even though the Falcons hold the edge on both sides of the ball in this game, I give the winning edge to the Panthers. Carolina realizes how pivotal this game is and is one that they must win in order to keep pace in the division and in the playoff race.

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