Coming off an embarrassing lost against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, the New Orleans Saints (9-3) get ready to play host to the division rival Carolina Panthers (9-3) tonight in another primetime game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Carolina is on an “under the radar” run as very few people expected them to be tied for the division lead with the Saints. Everyone expected the Falcons to push the Saints, but injuries to key WRs, and the lack of a running game has destroyed the Falcons season.
Carolina, on the other hand, has had great success offensively and, most importantly, defensively. Boasting the #1 total defense in all of the NFL, Carolina is led by 2nd hear MLB Luke Kuechley and veteran DEs Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. With a front 7 like no other in the NFL the Panthers will look to pressure Saints QB Drew Brees the same way the Seahawks did last Monday.
We all know what the Panthers have offensively with QB Cam Newton, RBs Deangelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert. And let’s not forget about Father Time WR Steve Smith and the often quiet yet emerging former LSU WR Brandon Lafell. Offensively the Panthers don’t have much of a weakness, maybe in their Offensive Line, but they’ve shown some consistent brilliance as of late. And even if they are a bonafide weakness with a QB like Cam Newton you only have to hold your blocks for so long before he either finds his receiver or he breaks contain and runs for 15 yards.
In my thoughts, this will be the toughest game for the Saints and their 8th ranked defense, and for the Offensive Line to keep Drew Brees clean and finally create some running lanes for the RBs, but somehow I feel they find a way to pull this one out by at least a touchdown. Final score 28-21.