NFL: Take Aways from Thursday Night Football

On Thursday night football, the Atlanta Falcons took on the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta actually held onto a lead in this game and took down Carolina by a final score of 25-17, to kickoff the eighth week of the NFL season though. This game was played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, though.

There are a lot of games on the schedule this week, but this was finally a game that Atlanta didn’t blow for once though.

That was one of the take aways on Thursday Night in the NFL.

The second takeaway is, is this the final game for Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in an Atlanta Falcons jersey?

With the trade deadline approaching on Tuesday, Atlanta may want to be in rebuild mode and move in a different direction.

Ryan is 35 years old. He can opt-out of his contract after the 2021 season. If not, he won’t become a free agent until after the 2023 season. Matt Ryan could retire after the 2024 or 2025 season or maybe even earlier though.

He has a cap hit of over $18 million for the rest of the season. For 2021, he has a cap hit of over $40 million.

Matt Ryan in the game completed 21-of-30 passes for 281 yards and one interception.

I could see Ryan being held onto this season and them drafting a quarterback, but then trading him next season. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded either though.

Julio Jones is 31 years old and he is under contract for another couple of seasons. He had seven receptions for 137 yards receiving in the game. Jones maybe the best wide receiver in the NFL at the moment though.

He has a cap hit between $19 mil and $23 mil. He could opt out after the 2022 season. If not, Julio Jones would be able to play the 2023 season and be a free agent after that.

The last one is that this team would still be in the playoff race if they held onto games earlier in the season though.

As for the Carolina Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater is just a game manager. He completed 15-of-23 passes for 176 yards one touchdown and one interception.

He also rushed for 30 yards on five carries. Bridgewater got hurt in this game in the fourth quarter, but he came back in and threw a key interception late.

P.J. Walker had to come in for a few snaps and completed 1-of-4 passes for three yards passing.

Teddy Bridgewater is the heartbeat of this football team. He will be here for another couple of seasons.

Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady has done a solid job calling plays for Carolina so far this season.

He has called plays before and he did with Joe Burrow‘s LSU Tigers last season, who is now on the Cincinnati Bengals though.

Matt Rhule, who is now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, has created a physical and ruthless culture. Rhule fixed the University of Baylor and also Temple University football programs overnight though.

They also faked a punt in this game and Jeremy Chinn had a 28-yard rush on it for a first down. He was also the defensive rookie of the month in the NFC though.

The second thing is the Carolina Panthers receiving core is underrated. D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel are very good but young and talented.

Moore had only two catches for 55 yards receiving, but he made a big catch in the fourth quarter to give them a chance to tie the game.

Robby Anderson also caught five passes for 48 yards receiving.

Curtis Samuel also caught four passes for 31 yards receiving. He also rushed for 23 yards on three carries and a score.

The third thing is Mike Davis did a well enough job filling in for running back Christian McCaffrey and now it is time for him to return. McCaffrey has not played since Week 2 with an ankle injury.

Had this game been played on Sunday, they would have potentially played him, but the Carolina Panthers wanted to give him 10 extra days of rest before their next game.

Davis rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries. He also caught one pass for 11 yards receiving though.

Mike Davis did a good enough job filling in for him, but McCaffrey is ten times better than him though and is one of the best running backs if not the best running back in the NFL though.

The Atlanta Falcons (2-6) next game will be at home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, against the Denver Broncos (2-5) on Sunday, November 8th.

The Carolina Panthers (3-5) next game will be on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) on Sunday, November 8th at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, though.

What did you think of the lessons of Thursday night football between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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