Panthers Preview: Saints Come Marching

Cover Photo Credit: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Jamey Price

This season T Git will be providing a preview before each Panthers game to provide you insight into the game. Follow him on twitter @TGIT_Lin .

It was another solid weekend for the Carolina Panthers as they pulled off a 9-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills. Once again the defense carried the team to victory and was led by a solid game by the defensive line.  Julius Peppers and Mario Addison racked up three sacks with Mr. Peppers scooping two.  The defense held Tyrod “How is he a starting QB?” Taylor to 125 passing yards and LeSean McCoy to 9 yards on 12 rushing attempts.  Currently through two games, the Panthers defense leads the league with the least points and yards allowed per game.

 The offense however was a different story.  The duo of Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey were held under a combined 100 yards rushing and the Bills defense sacked quarterback Cam Newton six times.  Cam struggled at times and the continuous pressure caused him to miss on some very routine throws.  In particular a throw to a wide open Christian McCaffrey for an easy touchdown in the red zone.  While the 9-3 score shows a lack of offense for the Panthers this doesn’t tell the whole story. The Panthers dominated the offense side of the ball where they possessed the ball almost two times as long as the Bills and they lead in every offensive category. Let’s be honest, if you watched the game then you know the Panthers should have hung 20 on the board but let’s give some credit to the Bills defense who looked very sharp under new coach Doug McDermott.    

One downside to this game was the loss of tight end Greg Olsen to a broke foot for 8 weeks. It’s now time for Ed Dickson to step up and help keep things stable until November 26th.

New Orleans vs Carolina Panthers

When: September 24th 1:00pm EDT

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

The New Orleans Saints roll into town for third game of the year for a heated division rivalry and the first real test for the Panthers.  The Panthers are 4-2 over the past three years against the Saints, but this game is no gimme. The Saints not only bring in newly signed running back Adrian Peterson, but former Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn and linebacker AJ Klein.  Like last week the Saints now have more than their fair share of intel on the Panthers.  The spread is listed at -5.5 for the Panthers and even though the familiarity may help out the Saints, the Panthers should be able to cover this week!

Keys For The Saints:

The Saints will need to get to Cam Newton early and often.  If they can rattle Cam and give themselves an early lead it could be too much for a Panthers offense that still does not look to be quite in sync.  Defensive linemen Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor will need to set the tone for a defense that is dead last in yards allowed per game and second to last in points allowed.  Offensively it will be all on Drew Brees, which has been the case for like ten years.  The combination of Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara will need to impact the game by getting the Panthers defense to take risks they have yet to take through two weeks.  If that happens, watch out for Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn to have an opportunity for some big plays down the field.  For the Saints to take home the victory Drew Brees will have to do what he’s done most of his career in New Orleans, put the team on his back!

Keys For The Panthers:

The Panthers just need to stay the course with defense first and KEEP POUNDING the rock on the offensive side of the ball.  Building on what they did in Weeks 1 and 2, the offense needs to stay on the field long enough to give their defense time to rest. There is no doubt that Drew Brees and the Saints offense will score more than 3 points this week so this is the game for the offense to step up.  They are playing a Saints team who has given up 32.5 points per game, so this should be the game the Panthers need to finally get their passing game/Cam going.  The Saints have allowed a league worst 388.5 passing yards a game, so look for Cam to finally have a good game passing the ball!

I believe the Panthers defensive line and front 7 will completely man handle a battered Saints offensive line and allow less than 14 points.   I’m predicting a complete blow out with Panthers scoring at least 30 points and winning by at least 17.  This will have them going into week 4 against the Patriots 3-0!