Friday, December 5, 2014

My pick for Saints-Panthers Round 2

When you explain football to a child, one of the first words you use is "touchdown."

It is one of football's basics, those six points you get when you reach the end zone. And when you put the Panthers' 3-8-1 season in simplest terms, they just haven't been getting there often enough in 2014 (the picture to the right is just one example why, showing Kelvin Benjamin dropping what would have been a TD pass against Seattle).

Remember the last time Carolina played New Orleans on Oct.30th? The Saints led 14-0 at halftime. The Panthers' defense forced two early turnovers, and the Panthers' offense converted those turnovers into... well... punts.

The Panthers' offense wasn't great last season, either, but that fact was often hidden by the NFL's No.2 defense and a few fantastic fourth-quarter drives that produced points at exactly the right time. That team scored 42 touchdowns in 16 games.

This team has only 24 through 12 games, which places it in front of only the New York Jets, Oakland and Jacksonville in terms of TDs scored this season. That's company you do not want to keep in today's NFL. Even 2-10 Tampa Bay and 2-10 Tennessee have scored one more TD apiece than Carolina has this season.

This is not a historic low for Carolina. The record for fewest TDs ever by a Panther team came in 2010, when Jimmy Clausen and company sputtered to only 17 total TDs in 16 games. That team sometimes looked like it couldn't have scored if the other team had forgotten to put a defense on the field at all.

But this one has not been much better. From the regression of quarterback Cam Newton to the purge of receivers to the overpaid running backs to the uninspired playcalling to the unstable and overmatched offensive line, this has been an incredibly forgettable offense to watch.

-- Could the Panthers' offense have a last gasp Sunday? There's a chance. New Orleans is 31st in the NFL in yards allowed. But the Saints still whipped Carolina 28-10 in Charlotte not long ago and made Newton endure one of his worst days ever in the NFL (10 for 28, 151 yards, 1 interception and a 39.4 QB rating).

-- Of the Panthers' primary rivals, no team has historically been a better match than New Orleans. Check this out. The teams have played 39 times, with Carolina holding a 20-19 edge. If you combine all the points from all the games, the difference is one touchdown -- New Orleans leads, 817-810.

-- Prediction time. I am 7-4-1 picking the Panthers' outcome this season after correctly selecting Minnesota to beat Carolina last week. This one may be close for a half, but not much longer than that. My pick: New Orleans 34, Carolina 17.


Anonymous said...

Saints by 50

Drew puts on another clinic.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers' problem is they have made the tremendous mistake of crowning Cam Newton the king of the franchise. They can fix that. Part ways with him. He is incapable of leading an NFL offense and there is more I could say but won't (i.e. I am no psychiatrist, but there are obvious Freudian underpinnings to the towel thing .....).

rferrell said...

Lots of reasons Panthers are horrible this season; injuries, inept coaching staff, and limited talent in general. We got rid of some average players, and replaced them with below average players. I believe all "cleaning house" of players was the direct result of Gettleman being given marching orders by Richardson to cut payroll,and expect fans to be content with a team comprised of players who can't compete at a major league level. Right now, I glad we're not playing Florida State tonight for the ACC Championship.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your prediction. This team is not even fun to watch they are so bad. I could see us losing every game. It would be one thing if games were close, be we keep getting blown out.

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Anonymous said...

I love it when people have no idea what they are talking about and the post it! Ha!