Well Saints fans, this is familiar territory. The Saints are 0-2 and heading into a meeting with the divisional rival Carolina Panthers and are in danger of falling to 0-3 for the fourth straight time. The Panthers have won five of the last six meetings with the Saints. These games have usually been close but the last few years the Panthers, led by Cam Newton and Co., have had the Saints number. For this weeks Scouting Report I interviewed a Panthers Fan instead of someone who covers the team, to get a different perspective. I hope you enjoy.
1. So the Panthers will be suiting up against the Saints without #1 Tight End Greg Olsen. How do you think that will affect the team?
“Losing Greg Olsen is a huge blow especially for this game. Olsen always seems to shine against the Saints and is always a safe option for Cam Newton. I would assume that Ed Dickson will handle the majority of the Tight End snaps but I would think the receivers are going to be who Cam Newton looks to. I don’t have to tell you that the Saints secondary has been suspect for several years now and I would think Newton will try to exploit their weakness. Even more now that I hear that Lattimore is not going to be playing.”
2. Cam Newton hasn’t seemed like himself this season and he was on the injury report this week. How do you think Cam will play?
“Yeah, I know what you mean and I think that the Bills beat him up a good bit but I would be shocked if Cam didn’t play or even if it affects him much. Cam Newton is a pretty tough guy. I would expect him to be on the field and play a good game.”
3. You mentioned the Saints secondary earlier. Do you think that is the best place to target the Saints. Do you think Christian McCaffrey will have a break out game?
“Yeah, If I were asked to make the game plan I would think they would throw the ball a lot. Correct me if I am wrong, but the last few games between the two teams have been shootouts. I think this game will be high scoring because Drew Brees is still a scary quarterback and I don’t have a lot of faith in our secondary either. I think that if McCaffrey is going to have a big game this would be a good opportunity but I just don’t know if we are using him in the best role.”
4. Okay, so what do you think the final score will be? Do you have a prediction for each team?
“I think the game will be high scoring. I am going to say 31-28 Panthers. My Panthers prediction will be Kelvin Benjamin will have 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. My Saints prediction will be that Brees will throw for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns (1 to Ted Ginn).
So my take it simple. The Saints MUST win this game. If they want to have any chance of staying alive in the division they need a win. Currently they are the only team in the division with a loss and they have 2 of them. The Saints are facing a quarterback that they will have an opportunity to take advantage of. The the defensive line can get a little pressure on Newton they can make his life very difficult. Newton tends to hold the ball a little longer than he should and is sometimes very inaccurate with his throws. The Saints defense needs to take advantage of these mistakes and not allow Newton to take advantage of their mistakes. The Saints need maintain ball control and control the tempo of this game. The Panthers lead the NFL in time of possession with 36:37. The Saints need to use the three-headed monster that they have a running back to help control the ball and be better at third downs. If they can control the ball and take advantage of Cam Newtons mistakes that are inevitable then this should be an easy one to win.
Final Score: 41-38 Panthers
Saints Prediction: All three running backs get a touchdown with Mark Ingram leading the team in rushing yards with 110 yards.
Panthers Prediction: Cam Newton throws 4 touchdowns and Carolina has two 100+ yard receivers.
Leave a comment with your score prediction and follow me on twitter at @318realty.