Carolina Panthers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Both of these teams suffered significant injury losses week 1. The Falcons lost safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones, two talented young defensive players, and will also be without running back Devonta Freeman for at least one game. Meanwhile, the Panthers, already without left tackle Matt Kalil with a knee injury, lost tight end Greg Olsen and right tackle Daryl Williams for an extended period of time and will also be without right guard Trai Turner this week because of a concussion.
Including the off-season loss of Andrew Norwell, the Panthers have lost 4 of 5 starters on the offensive line since the end of the last season, including a trio of Norwell, Turner, and Williams who were among the best in the league at their respective positions. Coming into the season, I had the Falcons ranked significantly higher than the Panthers and that remains the case after all these injuries on both sides. I liked this line better when it was -5.5 earlier in the week and I may increase the confidence on this bet if it drops back under 6, but the Falcons should be able to win this game at home by at least a touchdown.
Atlanta Falcons 27 Carolina Panthers 17
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -6