Gameday Preview: Saints vs. Panthers, Game 2

So it seems like every week has been a must win week for the Saints. Why? Because every week the Carolina Panthers are winning. And now with two losses in their last three games, the Saints look to rebound on the road and win, in Carolina.

The Saints look to sweep the season series and improve to 5-0 in the NFC South division. We all know that’s going to be a difficult task, especially with all the doubters in the national media and all the extra “Game of the Year” pressure.

Rob Ryan and his defense have to play out of their minds against Cam Newton again. I expect Junior Gallette to have a big game as well as rookie S Kenny Vaccaro. If the defense can find some way to keep Carolina to the same 13 points they did two weeks ago then hopefully the offense will find the will to score 14 points somehow.

I normally don’t like to use this term, but the Saints are playing in their Super Bowl today. Maybe with the added pressure they’ll finally be able to break their road losing woes and anemic traits on offense. This year the offense is only averaging 18 ppg on the road. Not the usual points barrage we’re accustomed to seeing from guys like Drew Brees & co.

I’ve been begging for it all year long, maybe if I yell it may happen. THE SAINTS NEED TO ESTABLISH THE RUN EARLY! KEEP CAM NEWTON OFF THE FIELD! Let’s hope Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael heard that. Establishing the power run game is key against big time pass rushers like Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. Saints need to get them to play honest, although we know how difficult that will be.

The time consuming short yardage game will get the Saints the win today. Rely on the 3 to 4 yard runs and the 6 to 8 yard passes. Then once the lead is comfortably established (let’s say 21-10 is this mark), then get aggressive. It won’t be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the Saints’ game to lose. If they can break out of the road woes and become less predictable then they’ll get on the plan back to New Orleans with a ‘W’ and finally quiet the doubters in the national media.

Call me superstitious, but I won’t do a prediction this week. Not in fear of being wrong on the score, but in fear of setting the expectations too high for the team. Just go out there and win today!

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