LOCATION: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
BETTING LINE: Saints (+3.5)
CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-2
NEXT OPPONENT: BYE WEEK (vs. Arizona Cardinals week 8)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-1
NEXT OPPONENT: @ Kansas City Chiefs
Defensive lineman Kawann Short led the Panthers in sacks a year ago and has been very underwhelming since. He will have to generate pressure against a weak Saints’ offensive line if they hope to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense. It is apparent that Carolina is missing pro bowler Josh Norman and must find a way to get their season back on track; this starts with their front seven. Look for Short to expose the Saints’ weaknesses and make a difference in their matchup on Sunday.
Quoted as cocky and over confident, Vonn Bell is ready for the spotlight. He is quoted as saying he thinks he could be a better blitzer than Arizona Cardinals Tyrann Matheiu and that is just what the Saints need. Vonn Bell was thrown into a starting role in the second half against the Chargers and excelled in his debut. Look for defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to use a three safety set and let Vonn Bell back up his talk. New Orleans has taken some hits in their secondary this year but with a rover safety in the works, Bell could be the difference maker that the Saints have been looking for. Against the Panthers this week, the Saints will need any help they can get to slow down Newton (if he plays) and company.
Carolina Panthers Key Positions
Greg Olsen is coming off of a season best 181 yards receiving from Monday night and should play a prominent role against a weak Saints’ secondary. Whether Cam Newton or Derek Anderson is under center, Olsen will be the number two target (behind Kelvin Benjamin) and will be a big bodied receiver playing all three downs.
The Panthers relied heavily on their pass rush last year, typically only rushing four to five players to get after the quarterback. They have yet to establish a consistent pass rush against opposing teams this year and will have to disrupt Drew Brees behind the line of scrimmage to find success defensively on Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers’ secondary has the tough task of matching up with the Saints’ receiving core coming off of a bye week. The Panthers are known for their zone scheme and will stick to it against New Orleans’ shifty receivers. Veterans Robert Mclain and Kurt Coleman must keep their secondary patient and make a difference in the Superdome.
GAME PREVIEW ANALYSIS
The Carolina Panthers travel to New Orleans, LA to take on the New Orleans Saints in this divisional matchup in week six. Both teams come into the game desperate for a win as they sit at the bottom of the NFC South.
The defending NFC champion Panthers have dropped a couple of close games this season and are in a must win situation to get their season back on track. It is apparent that they are missing Josh Norman over the top and with their MVP quarterback banged up, the pressure is on Carolina to produce as a team. Their defense comes into the game giving opponents nearly 30 points a game and must correct their mishaps before the second half of the season. On the offensive side of the ball the Panthers have been banged up at the running back position but must find some stability in the run game to control the tempo of the game and keep Drew Brees on the sideline.
On the home sideline, the Saints are coming off of a bye week and are looking to prove that they are a contender in the league again. After a 1-3 start, New Orleans is in the same position as Carolina: this is a must win game. Drew Brees and company should come out of the locker room hot and hungry for a win, coming off of their bye week, but with questions still on their defense, the Saints must outperform their opponent on offense. Look for pressure to be generated off of the edge and overload on Cameron Jordan’s side of the ball.
Everybody in Nola better be at the Panthers/Saints game and yelling like a crazy mofo….
— WHODATCRUNKMAN44 (@twittmanola) October 11, 2016
This should be a good matchup week six and could determine the fate of both team’s season. With New Orleans at home and having a fresh roster, one play could determine the outcome of the game.
Saints – 28 Panthers – 24
New Orleans Saints Key Positions
The Saints’ offensive line came into the season with many questions and have played just as underwhelming this season. Coming off of a bye week, look for New Orleans to have their problems addressed and should be the best they have been all season.
The Saints’ secondary, barring injuries, have been near the worst in the league for some time and will be playing one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Cam Newton (still in concussion protocol). Some new faces will be making an appearance and should spark some fire in their secondary (Vonn Bell listed above). With two weeks of preparation for their matchup against Carolina, the Saints should be sharp coming into their week six matchup.
Sean Payton and Dennis Allen have had two weeks to prepare for their week six home game and must win schematically against Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers. On the defensive side of the ball look for the Saints to lineup in many different three safety sets and have pressure generated off of the edges.