Welcome everyone to the latest edition of the Saints preview where I break down the New Orleans Saints next matchup! This week it’s the Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers.
Last Week: The last time these two teams took the field, the Saints lost a tough one against Denver 25-23. The Panthers on the other hand, blew a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last Meeting: The Saints took the last meeting over the Panthers back on October 16th by the score of 41-38. This was the first Saints win over Carolina since October 30th, 2014.
What to Watch For:
Overcoming Tough Loss on Short Week: The Saints have lost in some bizarre ways and the loss to Denver on Sunday belongs at the top of the list. Losing is a part of sports, but the biggest thing for the Saints heading into this game is not to dwell on it because you’ve still got a puncher’s chance at making the playoffs. The Saints have a good chance to come away with a win over your NFC South rival if they can get over their loss over Denver.
Carolina Isn’t a 4th Quarter Team: This is one of the biggest reasons why I’m not nervous about the performance of the Saints on Thursday night. The 4th quarter has been one of the weakest points in the Panthers game, especially last week when they allowed Kansas City to put up 17 points in the final quarter. If the Saints can keep it competitive into the fourth quarter, this could wind up a win for New Orleans.
Run Game Revival? The New Orleans Saints seem to be getting the run game to click at the right time with Mark Ingram leading the charge. Last week seemed to be a return to form for New Orleans with the Saints getting only 80 yards against Denver. However, the Broncos are one of the best defenses so it’s to be expected for this team to be shut down.
The Saints Will Win If:
The New Orleans Saints can sweep the Panthers if they can keep the ball in their hands. Only a few days ago, the Saints committed four turnovers, two of which came off the hands of rookie Michael Thomas. Another factor that could lead to a win is continuing to show faith in the run game. It seemed like there was more of a balance last time they went out there with 21 run attempts and 29 pass attempts.
The Panthers Will Win If:
The Carolina Panthers can claw their way towards a much needed win if the defense can hold on for four quarters. There’s a lot of potential in what the Panthers can do on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of people will say that the departure of Josh Norman has hurt this team, but perhaps it’s not as simple as that. A win for this team hinges almost solely on the defensive performance late.