Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Thursday sports card features NFL Thursday Night Football along with two televised games in college football.

The NFL Thursday Night Football game on Fox is a battle of two NFC South teams moving in opposite directions.

The Carolina Panthers have been one of the surprises in the NFL this season under rookie NFL head coach Matt Rhule. Despite not having the benefit of a regular offseason given COVID, the former Baylor head coach has made the transition to the NFL successfully as the Panthers have pulled off three upset victories already this season. All four of Carolina’s losses have been to teams who have winning records. The Panthers come into this game looking to rebound from a 27-24 loss at New Orleans as a touchdown underdog.

Atlanta lost their third game this season where ESPN’s win probability crossed the 98% threshold on Sunday in their 23-22 upset loss to Detroit. The Falcons had the game seemingly locked-up when Todd Gurley rushed for a first down inside the Lions’ ten-yard line, but the running back could not stop his forward momentum as he landed on the ground inadvertently crossing the goal line. The blunder gave Matthew Stafford a final opportunity to lead his team back. He threw a touchdown pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson on the final play with no time left on the clock to win the game for Detroit. Atlanta also blew big fourth-quarter leads to Dallas and Chicago this season.

This game is a rematch of the October 11th meeting between these two teams in Atlanta. The Panthers raced out to a 20-0 lead before hanging on to win by a 23-16 score. That result was the final straw for Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank who fired head coach Dan Quinn along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff soon afterward. Raheem Morris will be coaching his third game with the interim tag for Atlanta looking to avenge that loss.

BookMaker lists Carolina as a 2.5 point favorite with the total set at 51.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

The Thursday night game on ESPN features another clash of Sun Belt Conference rivals this week.

South Alabama has won two games in a row after their 38-14 win at home over UL-Monroe last Saturday as a 14-point favorite. The victory raised the Jaguars record to 3-2 with a 2-0 mark in conference play, which puts them alone in first place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division.

Georgia Southern saw their record drop to a 3-2 mark after their 28-14 loss at Coastal Carolina last Saturday. The defeat dropped the Eagles to a 1-2 record in conference play, which ties them with Georgia State for the basement in the East Division. Both of Georgia Southern’s losses were against UL-Lafayette and the Chanticleers, who were nationally-ranked at the time of the game. 

Georgia Southern is a 4-point favorite with the total set at 51. The ESPN broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET.

Fresno State hosts Colorado State in a battle on Mountain West Conference rivals to close out the football card at 10 PM ET.

The Bulldogs kicked off their season last week by suffering a 34-19 upset loss at home to Hawai’i as a 2.5-point favorite. Fresno State returned eight starters from the team last year that was 4-8. After the unexpected retirement of head coach Jeff Tedford, the program recruited former offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer to be their head coach after he ran the offense for Indiana last year.

Colorado State makes their season debut in this game under their new head coach Steve Addazio. The former Boston College head coach had a 44-44 record with the Eagles. He inherits 15 starters from the team that finished with a 4-8 record last year.

BetAnySports lists the Rams as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 59.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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