Saints Will Cruise Past Carolina

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Saints vs. Panthers, 7:15 ET

Every now and then, the football gods open up their hearts and give us a gift. Today they’ve given us the gift of two Monday Night Football games. How exciting! In this first matchup, we get a divisional showdown of two squads that are trying to reestablish themselves in the division. The Saints have moved to Derek Carr, and the Panthers are giving the ball to Bryce Young.

The Saints were the favorites for the division before the season began. I’m not quite sure why other than they have the most established of all the quarterbacks in Carr. Still, there are a lot of times that Carr makes a play and you wonder what he could’ve been thinking. That won’t just disappear because he’s in New Orleans. They played a tightly contested battle against Tennessee in their opener at home last week but were able to escape with a victory. I actually like the way the Saints are put together. They have a lot of “try-hard” guys on the defensive side of the ball and the offense has pretty much all the pieces you can think of in order to make them an effective unit. I would think they are going to try and throw on the Panthers, but Carolina allowed just 115 passing yards last week – I truly believe that is more of a reflection of Desmond Ridder than the defense, but still impressive. I was much less impressed with the fact that Carolina allowed three touchdowns to running backs and 130 yards on the ground. That could be an issue for the Saints can’t get the ground game going as they only gained 69 yards on the ground in 27 attempts last week. Either way, I still expect New Orleans to try and attack Carolina’s secondary much more than Atlanta did.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 18: Quarterback Bryce Young #9 of the Carolina Panthers in action against the New York Giants a pre-season football game at MetLife Stadium on August 18, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The story all season in Carolina will be the development of Bryce Young. He’s a very talented player, but how quickly can he adjust to the Pro game? His first game was decent, but not great. He threw two interceptions and I’d argue one of them was really bad, but the other was a little more acceptable. That comes with the territory of learning the league and a new team, but it definitely put the Panthers behind in the game. What Young did well was find receivers. He completed at least two passes to seven different receivers and eight overall. His longest gain though was just 14 yards – that won’t cut it in a full game, you have to have some chances of stretching out the field a bit. The running game looks pretty solid and Young is a capable enough scrambler as well, but the defensive line of the Saints is hard to run on. I do like the way the Panthers play and I even thought there was value on them to win the division before the season. Unfortunately, I don’t think the turnaround will come today.

There is no question Young is still feeling out this team and trying to develop chemistry with his teammates. He has a lot of safety nets but does he have someone that he can make the big play with? Those are the ones that are back-breakers for your opponents. Maybe Carolina unleashes Young a bit in this game, but I think it will be the Saints who come out victorious in this one. Neither team looks like an offensive juggernaut, and 39.5 is a really low total (I think it goes over). But, I think the best play is to take the Saints to cover the spread. I don’t think Young is quite ready to win the game and the Saints have the better defense and offense. This line seems really similar to the Dolphins/Patriots from last night and I think the outcome will be the same as well. Take the Saints -3.

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Written by David Troy

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