No one would have picked these two teams to be sitting at the bottom of the NFC South come Week 6 before the season beGAn. It’s been rough going for both. Predictably for the Saints. Not so much for the Panthers. These two are a combined 1-7 on the season. Carolina is a road 3-point favorite and the over/under for this Game is 53.
Carolina has had a rough go of it at quarterback. Cam Newton has gotten off to a slower start than expected after his MVP season a year ago. Of course, he missed last week’s Game because of a coNCussion as well. Derek Anderson filled in and turned the ball over three times in an ugly offensive performance as the Panthers lost to the Buccaneers, 17-14.
New Orleans has the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense, so if there’s ever an opportunity for the Panthers to put together a Game reminiscent of what they did during last year’s regular season, this is it. They are desperate for a win. Newton, coming off his injury, and the Panthers have every reason to come into this Game razor sharp, expecting to come away with a win.
Greg Olsen is coming off a phenomenal performance, catching nine passes for 181 yards. Kelvin Benjamin has been good in his return after missing last season, but he has only shown a fraction of his ability the last couple of weeks.
Carolina has been somewhat sUSCeptible to the pass compared to what has been known as the Panthers’ defense the last few seasons. They’ll certainly be tested again by Drew Brees and his receivers.
Brees has found regular targets in Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Michael Thomas. They’ve each caught passes for more than 200 yards in their Four Games. Each one has scored two touchdowns on the season as well.
The Saints have been repeatedly burned by opposing offenses for the last few seasons. They rank near the bottom of the NFL in both rush and pass defense. The Panthers ought to be able to execute with ease with the athletes they place on the field.
Carolina has one of the top rushing offenses in the league. While the Panthers may very well attempt to keep Newton out of the running Game more than they normally do because of coming off of his coNCussion, they still ought to be able to run up a big total on the ground. Receivers should have plenty of opportunities, too.
Our Pick – What a differeNCe a year makes! We’ve seen teams go from worst to first. However, it’s much more rare to see a team go from first to worst which is exactly what seems to have happened with Carolina.
The Panthers defensive yards per point number of 12.6 ranks 31st in the NFL. Also, check out their turnover margin differential of -7! Only one other team in the NFL has a worse number in that category!
The Saints hung with the Panthers in a year that Carolina went to the Super Bowl, losing a 41-38 decison. With that in mind, we see no reason why the Saints can’t do one better this year and win the Game on the field, in a year that, thus far, sees the Panthers towards the bottom of the NFL in many categories. Wrong team may be favored here. Saints +2.5