Friday, December 26, 2008

My Panthers-Saints prediction

** The way to beat the Saints is to smash them in the mouth. New Orleans has a reputation as one of the league’s finesse teams – a squad that would rather throw over you than run through you.

** The Panthers play the game the other way, sometimes to their own detriment (i.e., Steve Smith didn’t catch a single pass after the first half in the overtime loss to the Giants and was hardly ever thrown to -- that's ridiculous). On Sunday, though, a steady diet of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will be just what Carolina needs, because you don’t want New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees on the field too often.

** Brees won’t set the NFL record for single-season passing yardage Sunday, breaking Dan Marino’s 24-year-old record of 5,084 yards. He needs 402 to get it, and he won’t have Reggie Bush (who’s on injured reserve) on the field to help him. I’m going to pencil in Brees for at least 317 vs. the Panthers, though, so he’ll become the second guy to ever go over 5,000 in a season. That’s still something.

** The Panthers absolutely must blitz more in this game than they usually do. Give Brees time and you may as well forget it. Thomas Davis, the Panthers’ best blitzer, needs to have a good game.

** The economic downturn has obviously affected tourism in New Orleans. I’ve been down to The Big Easy several times to cover sporting events during the holidays, and it’s often difficult to secure a hotel room for less than $150. This time, a room in a nice hotel could be had for $65.

** After picking the Panthers’ outcome correctly for six weeks in a row, I misfired on the Giants-Panthers game last week. I’ll try to get back on the horse with this one: Carolina 31, New Orleans 24.

A win would guarantee Carolina the No.2 playoff seed in the NFC, a first-round bye and a home playoff game -- I think all that is going to happen. As I've mentioned on this blog earlier, though (see the previous post), if Carolina doesn't win this game, I don't think this team is good enough to advance from a wild-card slot to the Super Bowl. So this one is enormous -- with no win here, you can kiss the Panthers' Super Bowl chances goodbye.
-30-

15 comments:

ncriptide said...

** The Panthers play the game the other way, sometimes to their own detriment (i.e., Steve Smith didn’t catch a single pass after the first half in the overtime loss to the Giants and was hardly ever thrown to -- that's ridiculous)

And yet you graded the Panthers coaching staff out at what - a B+? I believe your very words were "It's hard to fault the coaching staff. . . "

Which way is it?

pantherzone said...

I think the Panthers can win this going away. Their offensive power and N.O.'s defensive shortcomings are a bad matchup for the Saints. And Carolina showed in the last meeting that they can do enough to shut Brees down. I disagree that the Panthers aren't a good enough team to go on the road to win. They could- but it would be tremendously difficult because of the schedule they have faced in the last quarter of this year- five straight important, intense games with no rest. THAT, and not the actual capabilities of this team would make me doubt their ability to get to Tampa if they went in as the 5th Seed in the NFC. They need this game against the Aints just to catch their breath and get healthy.

South Carolina Regulators said...

Scott, I think the reason Smith didn't catch a ball in the second half was because Jake went sour on us. It was obvious he could not be depended on to throw even to wide open receivers in the 2nd half without interceptions (we were just lucky the Giants dropped the balls). It was good Jake 1st half and bad Jake 2nd half. Look at it again and look at how many times Jake could not hit wide open receivers, especially on crossing patterns where he always throws behind the receiver. His timing was/is gone. His arm strength was/is gone. I'm sorry as I can be, and I love his leadership and spirit, but sometimes you just have to step up and do your job properly. The Giants could see how bad he was and then they really stacked the box on us. Jake simply has to do a better job and help take some pressure off the running game. Still and all, we'll take the Saints and get the buy. The only thing they really want is the record for Brees and we'll let them have it as long as they let us go up by 2 TDs first. Then it'll be a wide open offensive swap- yardage for Brees in exchange for yardage for Smith and Williams. But don't put all our eggs in one basket. Get ready to play some smash mouth football if need be.

South Carolina Regulators said...

Scott, I think the reason Smith didn't catch a ball in the second half was because Jake went sour on us. It was obvious he could not be depended on to throw even to wide open receivers in the 2nd half without interceptions (we were just lucky the Giants dropped the balls). It was good Jake 1st half and bad Jake 2nd half. Look at it again and look at how many times Jake could not hit wide open receivers, especially on crossing patterns where he always throws behind the receiver. His timing was/is gone. His arm strength was/is gone. I'm sorry as I can be, and I love his leadership and spirit, but sometimes you just have to step up and do your job properly. The Giants could see how bad he was and then they really stacked the box on us. Jake simply has to do a better job and help take some pressure off the running game. Still and all, we'll take the Saints and get the buy. The only thing they really want is the record for Brees and we'll let them have it as long as they let us go up by 2 TDs first. Then it'll be a wide open offensive swap- yardage for Brees in exchange for yardage for Smith and Williams. But don't put all our eggs in one basket. Get ready to play some smash mouth football if need be.

Matt said...

I like the Panthers in this game. If the defense comes up with a scheme similar to what they used against Denver and shuts down the passing game - there's no reason the Panthers can't win. I would think the offense sticks with traditional John Fox ball - run, run, run, control the clock, and keep Brees and the Saints offense off the field. God help us should he come out and throw for well over 400 yards. Our secondary can't allow the big plays like they did last week at the Meadowlands.

Gary said...

Our great football gurus at The Charlotte Observer must be completely blind to DiAngelo Williams accomplishments this season. His rushing stats put him in line with the two best runningbacks of all time, Jim Brown and Walter Peyton, yet there has been nothing said to acknowledge the fact. Give the man some praise Charlotte, GO DiAngelo GO, he should be MVP this year without question!

Natasha said...

All this talk about offense, Jake, Williams, Smith...DEFENSE wins the big games...my friends, just look at the Titans or the Ravens. We're hurting there, especially in the secondary. If we don't start pressuring quarterbacks...we're in trouble...Look at Tampa, their hurt defense has killed their season. We gotta win this week for rest and healing:)

common sense said...

Gary are u smokin. Deangelo has a great year but one of the all time greats. Okaaay? Why are you guys focused on the secondary. The giants ran for 315 yard!!! Do you not think that will be exploited. When a team has nothing to lose, they are more dangerous.

Matt said...

"Why are you guys focused on the secondary. The giants ran for 315 yard!!!" Wow. Let's all consider that for a moment. Hmmm. Gee. Next.

Do we not think that the run defense will be exploited? Against the Saints? Um, no. I seriously doubt Reggie Bush piles up 200+ rushing yards on the Panthers. New Orleans is maybe slightly more dangerous than Denver when it comes to the run, and much less dangerous than Tampa Bay or Atlanta.

Carolina Huddle.com has a fan poll for the team MVP on their front page and DeAngelo is the runaway favorite, so it's no question to Panther fans as to what he's accomplished this year. Unfortunately most of the rest of the country didn't get to see what he's been doing all season on national tv till the Tampa game - right when Pro Bowl voting when nearly over. But it's nice to see that he's emerging as the type of back that he had the reputation for being in college, not to mention he's an outstanding community citizen.

Scott Fowler said...

Hi, guys: To address a couple of comments in here.... NCriptide, I'm not the grader of the Panthers each week. That duty falls to Charles Chandler, our Panther beat writer. I would have given the coaching staff a B-minus for that game, I think. As for DeAngelo Williams not getting enough credit, check out Sat., Dec.27 Charlotte Observer paper and online -- a long story about DeAngelo and Jim Brown.

Da_Guru said...

C'mon guys...Just relax, the Saints have nothing to gain by being a spoiler...I predict Sean Peyton is going to hand this game to the Panthers ...so that we could all get to watch the road to the SuperBowl - Giants/Panthers II rematch....

Rita said...

Hey Matt... I seriously doubt Reggie Bush will pile up 200+ rushing yards on the Panthers either, especially since he is on IR!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

russl179 said...

Scott, doyou know the approx. time the Panthers are to return to BOA tomorrow night?

John said...

South Carolina Regulators said:

"Scott, I think the reason Smith didn't catch a ball in the second half was because Jake went sour on us."

Hey man, take that weed back to the dealer... he's obviously been sticking some bad stuff in it!

Did you record the game? I did, and went back and watched it again... this was a defensive letdown. You Jake haters need to turn in your jerseys, the rest of us are sick of you!

And, I've been watching pro football longer than most of you have been alive!

South Carolina Regulators said...

Look "John", Do you know how to read for comprehension? Or, do you just scan through everything that has Jake's name on it and try for something coherent to say? John my boy, you're missing everything, the comprehension, the coherency, everything. And don't ever insult me again by calling me "man". I don't live in the ghetto and I don't find the ghetto talk exceptable from anyone. Go back and try to read for understanding of what's written.