Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley gets past Detroit Lions safety Will Harris before trying to stop short of the end zone to control the final minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta. Gurley accidentally scored, giving the Lions the ball for a game-winning drive.

Curtis Compton/The Associated Press

There is losing, and there is LOSING.

The Atlanta Falcons have mastered the capitalized version.

Blown leads, botched onside kicks and, last Sunday, scoring when they shouldn’t have. It’s all added up to a 1-6 record, a coach and general manager fired and ridicule across the United States for what is actually one of the NFL’s best organizations.

Story continues below advertisement

It might be a stretch to say that the Falcons' foibles in 2020 date back to when they set a Super Bowl record for losing from ahead in the 2017 game against New England. Or maybe not. Clearly, Atlanta has shown a penchant for monumental collapses.

On Thursday, they head to Carolina, already having lost to the Panthers this season, although not with a spectacular stumble. That was the final game for coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff.

Some believe the best advice for the Falcons is to simply plow ahead, while others insist they must learn from these fiascos.

“Playing on Thursday night makes you get out of the funk that you’re in after a tough loss,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “So I think getting back into a game plan quickly, talking with coaches, starting to make plans for Thursday night kind of helps.”

The Panthers, 3-4 in their first season under coach Matt Rhule, have been a pleasant surprise considering they were pegged to be the NFC South’s tail-ender. They hope to get back star running back Christian McCaffrey, who can be a difference-maker if he’s fully healed from a high ankle sprain.

The Panthers, No. 19 in the AP Pro32, are a 2 1/2-point favourite over the floundering No. 28 Falcons.

PANTHERS, 28-23

Story continues below advertisement

Knockout pool: The Chargers had us worried for a while before subduing Jacksonville. We aren’t worried about selecting KANSAS CITY this week.

No. 32 New York Jets (plus 19) at No. 2 Kansas City

Probably should be our best bet, but that’s a ton of points to give. Still ...

Best bet: CHIEFS, 38-10

No. 22 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 3) at No. 23 Denver

Yes, the QB matchup favours LA, but favouring the Chargers overall here? Nope.

Story continues below advertisement

Upset special: BRONCOS, 22-20

No. 1 Pittsburgh (plus 5) at No. 3 Baltimore

Pro Picks' top NFL rivalry, with the top spot in the AFC North up for grabs.

STEELERS, 22-20

No. 27 Minnesota (plus 6 1/2) at No. 5 Green Bay

If not for Jets-Chiefs, this would be our Best Bet.

Story continues below advertisement

PACKERS, 30-16

No. 18 New England (plus 3 1/2) at No. 9 Buffalo

Things have gotten ugly in New England, with no Tom Brady to bail out the Patriots.

BILLS, 17-15

No. 6 Tampa Bay (minus 10) at No. 30 New York Giants, Monday night

Speaking of Brady, the Giants fared pretty well against him. Not here.

Story continues below advertisement

BUCCANEERS, 30-16

No. 10 Los Angeles Rams (minus 3 1/2) at No. 17 Miami

Aaron Donald, meet newbie QB Tua Tagovailoa.

RAMS, 26-16

No. 13 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 4 Seattle

The Seahawks don’t know how to avoid close games, even with SF banged up.

Story continues below advertisement

SEAHAWKS, 31-30

No. 8 New Orleans (minus 4) at No. 12 Chicago

Can’t like much of anything the Bears showed in L.A. It should be tighter in the Windy City.

SAINTS, 24-16

No. 29 Dallas (plus 7 1/2) at No 21 Philadelphia

We will take Philly’s grit and determination over Dallas’s ennui.

EAGLES, 22-10

No. 16 Las Vegas (plus 3 1/2) at No. 14 Cleveland

The Browns have proven they can beat bad teams. What are the Raiders?

BROWNS, 26-23

No. 7 Tennessee (minus 5) at No. 26 Cincinnati

The Bengals are growing even as they keep losing. But they haven’t grown this much.

TITANS, 30-27

No. 15 Indianapolis (minus 2) at No. 20 Detroit

Don’t be fooled by the Lions reaching .500.

COLTS, 26-21

———

2020 RECORD

Last week: Straight up: 11-3. Against spread: 8-6

Season: Straight up: 69-35-1. Against spread: 56-44-2

Best bet: Straight up: 6-1. Against spread: 5-2

Upset special: Straight up: 2-5. Against spread: 2-4-1

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies