Editor’s note: NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian deliver their NFL picks every Thursday of the season, and here’s who they like in the Carolina Panthers-Atlanta Falcons Week 4 game, with the line from OddsShark.
(-3) Carolina Panthers (1-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-1), 1 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. Atlanta’s offensive explosion came against (statistically speaking) two of the NFL’s worst defenses in Oakland and New Orleans. Carolina is just a little stingier. Also, expect a big game from Greg Olsen, who’s going up against a Falcons defense that has allowed 22 catches, 247 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends.
Ricky: Falcons. Matt Ryan has been great so far, albeit against porous defenses. I’m not sure how long the good times will last, but the Falcons winning a shootout on their home turf seems plausible. I’ll take the points here, especially since the Panthers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five road games.
Andre: Falcons. Cam Newton’s completion percentage is back to where it was prior to his MVP season (below 60 percent), and he’s throwing a bunch of picks. He has been sacked 12 times (most in the NFL), and his defense isn’t bailing him out either. After leading the league in turnover differential last season (plus-20), the Panthers are in the red this year (minus-2). They’re also in the middle of the pack in yards allowed per play (5.4). Nowhere near last season’s dominance.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images