Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Panthers-Saints prediction

Some thoughts entering the Panthers' final game of the season, which is Sunday at 1 p.m. against New Orleans:

-- Now this is weird. The New Orleans Saints (13-2) are the No.1 seed in the NFC entering the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers are 7-8 and out of the playoffs. And yet, Carolina is the team that’s on fire entering this one and the Saints are cold. If New Orleans loses Sunday, the Saints will enter the playoffs with a three-game losing streak.

-- I have thought several times this week of what Panther linebacker Jon Beason said after Carolina dropped to 5-8 with a loss to New England. Beason said the Panthers would have to be “perfect” the rest of the way just to be “average.” Very true – an average NFL record would be 8-8 – and very prophetic. Carolina has outscored its last two foes 67-16 and played two remarkably complete games while doing so. It’s just too bad that it has happened so late.

-- Here’s an interesting thought: If Matt Moore had started the entire season, what would Carolina’s record be right now?

-- New Orleans would be foolish to play QB Drew Brees much – if at all – Sunday. Expect to see Mark (He’s Still in the NFL?!) Brunell quarterback the Saints for most of the afternoon.

-- I love what Moore has done the past two games, but he’ll have his hands full when throwing against the Saints. Without Steve Smith (broken forearm), Moore is going to have to really fire some balls into tight windows, because no other Panther receiver can regularly get much separation.

-- Did you know the Panthers are 12-0 all-time when Jonathan Stewart carries the ball 15 times or more?

-- I’ve backed myself into a corner on this prediction. A month ago I said I wouldn’t pick Carolina to win a game again.

Since then, the Panthers have rebounded, and they’ll have the advantage Sunday of playing at home against a Saints team that will be playing a lot of second-stringers so as to stay healthy for the playoffs. Still, I’m a man of my word.
My prediction: New Orleans 19, Carolina 18.

(And now the stats: The good news is my prediction before the season began that Carolina would finish 7-9 and out of the playoffs is going to be close. The bad news is that on a game-by-game basis in this blog this season I'm only 8-7 choosing Panthers' outcomes -- a flipped coin could have done just as well).


Curtis said...

I think the Saints are in a tough position you a) go back on Peyton's statement of "playing to win the last game" and b) risk rolling into the playoffs on a 3 game losing streak feeling somewhat concerned? I don't know...if I was coaching that team, I'd want a good win against a hot team going into the bye and the first playoff game. That's something to build on...whereas pulling your starters after some not so great performances the past few weeks and ultimately not having them play well for the last month before their first playoff game seems risky to me.

Definitely will be a good test for Moore not having Smitty...but, the positive is it is a chance for some of our other receivers to try and show what they have. Need to see of DJ can do anything while being a more featured receiver and with a QB that can hopefully find him. Plus check out some of the younger talent like Kenny Moore.

Regardless of if the Saints bring their "A Team" or not, I think the Panthers win this one and end the season on a high note.

Panthers 24, Saints 17

Brandon said...

Panthers win 63-3. Hey, might as well, right? The Panthers win the best when it no longer matters.

My prediction: next year, Fox returns, Delhomme starts over Moore despite the past few games, Fox continues to answer the same "Delhomme gives us the best chance to win" s***, and another mediocre season.

For the love of this team, I certainly hope that's not true.

gmail said...

I'm trying to see Moore throw it to my man Barnidge. That and let Stewart go to town. Get the W.

Anonymous said...

"I love what Moore has done the past two games, but he’ll have his hands full when throwing today."

No, I imagine he'll do fine in practice today, since it's only Thursday.

Seriously, Scott! Proofread! It only takes 5 minutes! I want a job where I toss off a 10 minute stream-of-consciousness blog post containing nothing but personal opinion and speculation that requires no more effort than rolling out of bed in my pajamas. How do you guys manage to get paid for this???

I'm going to offer the Observer my services for the same work for half the price.

David said..., Scott is writing this for publication later. I'm guessing his editors didn't catch the timing error when posted to a blog early.

Scott is a columnist, not an editor.

And you're crazy, Scott. The Panthers win this one going away. That seems to be the nature of this team.

David said... comments were meant for "Anonymous" directly above my last post.

endzonefan said...

Curtis: DJ has been deactivated for the last couple of games. What makes you think he will play Sunday?

"My prediction: next year, Fox returns, Delhomme starts over Moore despite the past few games, Fox continues to answer the same "Delhomme gives us the best chance to win" s***, and another mediocre season."
My prediction: next year, Brandon will still be an idiot.

Anonymous said...

looks like most "fans" posting here are as high qulity fan as Scott is a "sportswriter." I wonder if the Observer is going to let him come back next season?

Quintin said...

Hey Scott, you're as stubborn as John Fox!

Curtis said...

Endzonefan: Because Smitty won't be playing and Jarett probably has a good chance to play 2nd or 3rd WR.

endzonefan said...

Possibly but I doubt it. My guess would be Moore and Charly Martin.

Curtis said...

We'll see Moore out there a little bit...but, as we all know, Fox is a creature of habit. I would venture to say he won't radically alter anything in the last game of the season in regards to who he brings up in an injury situation...and my guess is he has a long standing plan if Smitty is out to move Moose to 1 and Jarrett to 2. Despite Jarrett not dressing for the past couple of games.

Believe me, I'd like to see something different...but, I just don't see it happening.

Elizabeth said...

I say the Panthers lose. Because when I pick the Panthers to lose, they tend to win :).

Jennifer said...

Happy New Year Mr. Scott and to all the faithful Scott Says Posters....

Hope you have a fabulous 2010

I take the Panthers by 3....gonna be close I think if the Saints take their starters out...Look for Brees to get busy early...

Moore doesnt have Smitty and dont know if DeLo is playing..

Either or, I hope him and Double Trouble, even if its minus the Double or the Trouble get the 1100...

Anonymous said...

You are a wimp and obviously would pick the Saints. I think w finish 8-8, 'cause I hate for you to be right.....and you are a Cowpile supporter.

Anonymous said...

They are pulling Brees from the game for fear he will get hurt. Probably a lot of starters won't play.

I think if you cannot play every team then you don't belong in the playoffs. Time for the NFL to make some new rules.

Jake said...

I don't think you know what the word "average" means, Scott. 8-8 might be .500, and it might be winning half of your games and losing half of your games, but it is not the average record.

Anonymous said...

What is the purpose of winning other have a 50% season? To reduce the draft chances? Pride? Spoiler? Truthfully the Saints have nothing to lose here.

This is similar to the Viks giving the Panthers a Xmas present a few weeks ago and then last week rookie NFL Colts coach Jim Caldwell pulled with a 14-0 record picked to go undefeated pulled his starters in the 4th including QB Manning and lost to NY. Caldwell and Polians excuse was they wanted to preserve their starters against injury.

Indianapolis fans are pizzed as hell and calling for the head of Caldwell for ruining what could have been the first perfect season since the 1972 17-0 Dolphins.

Even the NFL ft office is pizzed and wanted a perfect season for the first time in thirty seven yrs.

Caldwell is arrogant and refuses to back down and of course his Tony Dungy bro got his back whos place he took. Caldwell is the sorry coach fired at Wake Forest in 2000 for losing and has an overall college record of 21-62 yet got a pc job with the Colts. He was not liked at Wake.

Peyton Manning is outraged for being taken out for the 4th quarter and losing the game and spoiling a perfect season.

Curtis said...

Actually Jake, I think you don't know what average means. A team that doesn't win more than 8 nor lose more than 8, is by definition, not good and not bad but just average. If your argument is that you want to use math to average the wins/losses of each team in the NFL, I think you'll still find 8 - 8 to be no worse/better than average. You have roughly 10 or 11 teams that this season will win 9+ games, and you have roughly 11 or 12 teams that will finish with 9+ losses. The rest are in between and are just, well, average.

Anon @ 8:09, give it up man...nobody on here is buying your "Vikings xmas present". The Vikes didn't give us anything in that game, we took it.

Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Carolina Panthers, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.