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Panthers running game comes alive in 20-17 win over Falcons

06 November 2017

Reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan threw two touchdowns, including one in the fourth quarter for the Atlanta Falcons, but his last ditch effort would not be enough to come back over the Carolina Panthers, who utilized a strong second quarter and two third quarter field goals from Graham Gano to hold on and defeat Atlanta, 20-17. The Falcons were looking like they were the better team in the first half, then Atlanta does what it does best: blow leads. On fourth-and-7 from the Carolina 39 in the fourth quarter, the man who may be the best receiver in the National Football League got open by 10 yards in the Panthers end zone.

The Falcons look to take advantage of what has been a very tumultuous week in Carolina as they have shifted the line to become mild road favourites in this one after the Cats unexpectedly sent Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills at the trade deadline which works very well in Atlanta's favour as Carolina is undermanned offensively and can stack the box anticipating a heavy run game this weekend.

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Carolina finally found its legs late in the second quarter. The Panthers got good games out of both quarterback Cam Newton and rookie running back Christian McCaffrey in the ground game. Though this team isn't as dominant as it was two years ago, this Panthers defense is excellent.

NO RUNNING GAME: The Falcons have struggled in recent weeks with their running game, and Sunday was no exception. It goes as its best player in inside linebacker Luke Kuechly goes. He had a 4-yard touchdown on a pitchout as part of a day in which he had 66 yards rushing and 28 more receiving, including several plays he made for key first downs.

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Falcons: Freeman briefly left the game with 2 minutes remaining after taking a hard shot from safety Kurt Coleman but did return.

The Falcons are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 versus the NFC and 4-1 ATS in their last five versus the NFC South while the Panthers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games in Week 9 and 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games in November.

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Panthers running game comes alive in 20-17 win over Falcons