The New Orleans Saints, fresh off a shocking straight-up loss to the Washington Redskins as an 8.5-point home favorite in Week 1 of our NFL odds, will try and bounce-back from that disappointing effort when they travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. Odds makers have once again installed the Saints as favorites, this time by 2.5 points over a Panthers team that lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a field goal favorite.
The Saints had simply no answer for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III in their season-opening loss and will now be facing a second-year signal-caller with a similar skill-set in Cam Newton. In addition to the Saints defense being exposed vs. Washington, the game also took a toll physically on the team.
The Saints lost three significant contributors in the game and their availability against the Panthers is in doubt. Starting linebacker Scott Shanle suffered an unspecified leg injury that kept him on the sidelines for the entire second-half; nickel cornerback Johnny Patrick also left the game with an unspecified leg injury and never returned; and starting wide receiver Devery Henderson may have suffered a concussion when taking a knee to the back of the head and that could relegate him to the sidelines vs. the Redskins.
Despite the inauspicious start to the season for the Saints, it still seems way too early to give up on New Orleans, especially when you consider they also dropped their first game last year then went on to win 13 of their next 15 match-ups. It also helps the Saints’ cause that the Panthers’ offense was utterly inept against the Buccaneers. They had a measly 10 yards rushing and were only able to muster 10 points against a defense that allowed an NFL-worse 494 point a season ago.
New Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo has a system that has proven to work at his prior stops and we’ll give it another chance this week. Look for the Saints to bounce-back and cover the 2.5-points against the Panthers.