Thursday Night Football
Atlanta @ Carolina
Team Totals: Panthers 25.75, Falcons 23.25
Still finding ways to lose even in the post-Dan Quinn era, the 1-6 Falcons return from last week’s final-drive loss to Detroit to face a Panthers team that’s dropped two straight but is 3-2 with a combined +12 point differential over its last five affairs. Devoid of pass rush and banged up in the secondary, however, Carolina was picked apart for Drew Brees’ season highs in completion rate (81%) and fantasy finish (QB9) in last Sunday’s defeat and will struggle to become tangibly healthier on a short week. In two games since Julio Jones (hamstring) returned, Matt Ryan is 61-of-82 passing (74.4%) for 709 yards (8.7 YPA) and a 5:0 TD-to-INT ratio. Despite his Julio-less struggles in Week 5’s meeting with the Panthers, Ryan sets up as a high-floor, high-ceiling QB1 play in Thursday night’s projected high-scoring rematch. … Throwing caution to the wind with regard to management of Todd Gurley’s knee, the Falcons fed their lead back touch counts of 18, 23, and 25 in Weeks 5-7. Brian Hill’s one-game DFS-tournament appeal would be tied to a hypothesis that OC Dirk Koetter does scale back Gurley’s workload on a short week.