THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS WEEK 10
SUPER MARIOTA GALAXY
BEAST DOME NATION
This Falcons Defense is hurting. Just like these Thursday Night games, it seems like they are only showing games you would invest in if there were no other teams playing, or you have someone playing on your Fantasy team. The Falcons are somehow in the Playoff hunt, and maybe even the Panthers thanks to the NFC South being the second-worst division in the NFL. The worst is the AFC South.
The Panthers can get right back in the playoff hunt by targeting the weak Falcons secondary. Without Hayward and Terrell, this defense has a high-school-quality secondary. DJ Moore, and ‘Sergeant’ Terrance Marshall are not guardable. This a sentence that comes odd to hear about Panthers WRs. The problem for the Panthers is their QB. While P.J. Walker destroyed this Falcons team a couple of weeks ago, Baker Mayfield is still the guy with all the commercials, and looked strong in the second half when they benched Walker last week. While both are bench worthy QBs, starting Walker is a move the Panthers are making because of two reasons. The most important one is because the Panthers put up 34 points against the Falcons two weeks ago. D’onta Foreman ran for over 100 Yards and 3 TDs. While that was nice then, Chuba Hubbard does return. Foreman has done enough to run away with the job, but Hubbard was the starting RB before his injury, and ahead of Foreman on the depth chart all season long when CMC was a Panther. At least Hubbard will carve out a 3rd down role on primetime TV, Foreman is the guy for now. The second reason, it is only fair Walker deserves one last chance to be a starting QB in the NFL.
Marcus Mariota has to make this game work, and this seems to be a nice environment to do it. A Panthers defense that is very inconsistent, but they have the young stars to make it happen. Youth studs in the Secondary and D-Line, with verteran LBs. This Panthers D has either shown up all season, or they have absolutely not. Because of the Panthers talent on defense, and being on the road. Mariota is going to be playing a very conservative brand of Football. Smash MOUTH Football. Cordarrelle Patterson is going to get a healthy dose of carries into that Panthers front 7. There are times where Cord seems more dominant than Prime Marshawn Lynch. It is not often, but Cord is definitely one of the most dangerous RBs in the NFL, probably Top 3 guys I would not want to tackle. Derrick Henry is the obvious #1 where most of us would end up on a stretcher if you dare try.
The Falcons are going to play smash mouth Football. The Panthers will probably play smash mouth Football until their defense starts giving up points. Whatever defense gives up points first, the other team will figure out how to adjust through the air, while still maintaining the clock. Bottom line, both teams are not trying to win a shootout like it was a couple of weeks ago (Falcons 37-34 Panthers) in the Dome. This time, outside where it will be raining all night, supposed to be light rain but it will be pouring all night leading up to the game. We are going to see a lot of smash mouth Football.
Which takes us full circle to the first point I made. The Panthers can target the Falcons secondary, and can be successful if their QB play holds up. Though even though they can be successful, I see both teams taking the conservative approach because of the environment; Burning clock, kicking FGs. Which exactly pours into Mariota’s style of play. Playing big brother, toying with the little brother Panthers all game keeping it close, moving the chains, and doing just enough to win it at the end, thinking the Panthers had a chance.
Super Mariota Galaxy
UNDER 41.5 if I had to put anything on it. Not a great game.