Thursday, December 19, 2013

Panthers vs Saints Round 2 -- my prediction



On Sunday at 1 p.m. in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers play their biggest game in, oh, what, about two weeks?

It was only Dec.8th when the Panthers and New Orleans Saints first locked up, and the Saints embarrassed the Panthers in the Superdome, 31-13.

What will be different this time in a game in which the winner is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs?

Not much if Carolina's defense can't do any better with Drew Brees (shown above talking with Steve Smith after the first game). A whole lot if the Panthers play Brees with more ferocity and Cam Newton has a better game.

The two quarterbacks in this game will be, by far, its biggest keys. Newton was mostly ineffective against the Saints two weeks ago, and that was partly because he got very little help from his receivers who kept getting pushed around and an offensive line that was occasionally manhandled.

Brees, on the other hand, was his usual wondrous self. Here's an instructive stat. Brees threw for 313 yards against the Panthers that first time around. Pretty darn good, right?

In terms of yardage, that didn't even make Brees' top five against just the Panthers. It barely qualified for his top 10 (it was eighth).

So Brees is going to pile up some yardage. No doubt. But he has to be made uncomfortable. He can't be allowed to step into every throw. He can't be allowed to have time to get to his third read when the first two are well-covered.

-- As for Newton, he had a measly 111 net passing yards against New Orleans. He took five sacks for 49 yards and threw for only 160. No Panther receiver could get to 50 yards as the Saints simply outplayed the Panthers everywhere.

-- In this game, Newton has to be very good to win. And he's going to have to hit a few deep throws. In the first game, of Newton's 34 passes, not a single one was completed for a gain of 20 yards or longer. The screen pass could also be a big Panther weapon Sunday, but Newton will also have to make quicker decisions.

-- It will be a pleasure hearing Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the broadcast booth for those watching this one at home. They are a great pairing.

-- I'd like to see Mike Tolbert a lot more involved in this Saints game as the Panthers try to establish the run again early. The Panthers almost eliminated Tolbert from the offense the first time around -- he only touched the ball five times. And the Saints do give up yardage to pounding backs of the Tolbert variety. St. Louis bruiser Zac Stacy ran 28 times for 133 yards last week in St. Louis's upset of the Saints.

-- How many points does Carolina need to score to win? At least 20 is a must. In the 50 games that Sean Payton has coached for New Orleans in which the opponent scores 20 or less, the Saints' record is 47-3.

-- On Dec.8th, I picked the Panthers to upset New Orleans. This was a serious mistake. So.... fool me once, shame on you. Will the Panthers fool me twice?

Maybe so. But I think the Panthers will pull it off in front of the home crowd. My prediction: Carolina 30, New Orleans 27.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Key to victory is getting pressure on Brees, and running it down their throats. I truly do not know what to expect for this game, but I believe we will have to score 30+ to win.

Archiguy said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that an Observer columnist would make the Panthers his pick in such an important game, even after the 'Cats being beat up for their lunch money when facing this opponent only a couple of weeks ago.

Homers - gotta' love 'em.

Julian McMillan said...

I would love for somebody to make my day so i can see a big game in person. If there is anyone out here who can assist me please contact me at mcmillanj14@yahoo.com thanks and Merry Christmas to all GO PANTHERS..

Julian McMillan said...

I think we can get to Brees on the grass better grounds to attack on and home field advantage will assist us with a rowdy defense and offense.

Anonymous said...

Hey Archiguy your Saints are terrible on the road this year! Plus its going to rain favors the Home Running team!

Anonymous said...

Praying for rain!!!

Unknown said...

WHO DAT!

David Crabb said...

Good analysis Scott, but why don't you drop your predictions! You just "had that feeling" we were gonna pull off the win in NO a couple weeks ago and we got spanked. Bottom line is you are a homer and you use no objectivity in your picks....you just choose based on your hopes?

Anonymous said...

we need adjustments on offense 3 and out don`t and wont get it, we need continuity on offense , Cam looks terrible unprepaired for yet another big game.

Anonymous said...

we must run more against this NO defense,Its our receipy for victory against this team.

Anonymous said...

utilize Olsen to win this game, he can get open and make big plays!!!!

Anonymous said...

cam is passing terrible, there`s no excuse of missing wide open receivers on critical 3rd downs ,so unprepaired,CAN`T figure it.

Anonymous said...

we have to convert 3rd downs ,GEEZE

Anonymous said...

WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE SOME POSITIVE OFFENDE OUT OF CAM NEWTON IF WERE TO WIN THIS GAME....NO EXCUSE ...NO EXCUSE

Anonymous said...

ITS CAMS FAULT IF WE LOSE THIS GAME ,TO MANY MISSED OPPERTUNITIES...

Anonymous said...

NEWTON MISSED ANOTHER AFTER ANOTHER AFTER ANOTHER OPEN RECEIVER,