The Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints both started off the campaign with bad losses in NFL betting action last week. One will be knocked down to 0-2 when these two squads meet on Tobacco Road in an NFC South rivalry game in Week 2.
New Orleans was shockingly bad on both sides of the ball last week against the Washington Redskins. The team went three and out a whopping three times in its first four drives, and when you consider the fact that that happened an average of just once per game last year, that was a remarkable feat for the ‘Skins defense to accomplish. QB Drew Brees still put up his numbers, but in the end, his two picks and the defense’s inability to slow down QB Robert Griffin III proved to be the Saints’ undoing. Now, they have to go against another quarterback of really the exact same build as RG3, and this could prove to be awfully problematic, especially since this game is on the road and not at home. Simply put, both sides of the ball have to get a whole lot better, or the Saints are going to be marching straight out of the playoff picture in the NFC.
The Panthers were one of the least impressive teams in the league last week when they were beaten by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. The loss wasn’t the part that really had us scratching our heads, though. We became awfully concerned when we saw the grand total of 10 rushing yards. If sacks had counted against rushing yards, Carolina would have actually ended the afternoon with -2 total yards on the ground. For a team that really thinks it has three men that can rush for at least 600 yards for the third straight season, that’s absolutely alarming. QB Cam Newton was really just stuck in the pocket for the whole day, and though he had a good completion percentage, going 23-of-33 for 303 yards, he only had one TD pass against two picks. WR Steve Smith had 106 yards on seven receptions, continuing the resurgence of his career. The bottom line for Carolina though, is that it was only on the field offensively for about 22 minutes of the game against the Bucs. You’re not going to win all that many games like that.
Is it wrong to think that the ‘total’ of this game should legitimately be right around 60? Carolina isn’t going to play in anymore 16-10 games this year, and we’d bet some serious money on that. The Panthers will possess the ball more, and Newton will find more room to do what he does best. The Saints are going to have to make a lot of adjustments to keep the Panthers from dropping 30 in this game, and you know that QB Drew Brees isn’t going to let his team give up under any circumstance, just as was the case last week when he had the ball with a shot to tie the game. Expect this to be a shootout. New Orleans 34 – Carolina 30