On Monday night, the New Orleans Saints will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers. The Saints come in at 11-2 and are in the driver’s seat for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with the Rams loss on Sunday night. The Panthers are 6-7 and are one game out of the second Wild Card position.
Panthers Hope to Break Streak
The Saints are coming off a 28-14 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints trailed 14-3 at the half but stormed back with 25 unanswered points to win comfortably. Drew Brees had a quiet game, going 24 for 31 for 201 yards and one touchdown to go along with one interception. Michael Thomas was the leading receiver, as he has been all year, and tallied 98 yards on 11 catches. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 103 yards on 25 carries and Ingram also found the endzone.
The Panthers are coming off a 26-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns and have lost 5 straight games after a 6-2 start. This is a must-win game for the Panthers if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. Cam Newton struggled once again in Cleveland, completing 26 of 44 passes for 265 yards and no touchdowns as well as one interception. Christian McCaffery ran the ball 16 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns and also caught 6 passes for 38 yards. Curtis Samuel was the leading receiver for Carolina, tallying 80 yards on just 4 catches.
New Orleans Offense is Dominant
New Orleans has been a solid offensive team all season long. They rank 7th in the league in total yards per game with 389 and 2nd in points per game with 34.4. The defense hasn’t been too bad either, ranking 14th in total yards allowed with 348.8 a game. They rank 1st in run defense allowing only 77.6 yards a game but are 29th in passing defense, allowing 271.2 yards a game. The Saints are 6-1 on the road and beat the Panthers 31-26 in New Orleans in January.
Carolina has been average all around for most of the season. The offense puts up 378.1 yards per game, which is 10th in the league, and 24.9 points a game, which is 12th in the league. The defense has been below average this year, allowing 352.6 yards a game and 25.5 points per game, which ranks 16th and 23rd in the league, respectively. Christian McCaffery has been the do-it-all man on offense for the Panthers. He leads the team in both rushing yards and receiving yards on the season and has scored 12 touchdowns over the past 7 games.
Saints vs. Panthers Prediction
The Saints come in at -6. This crowd will be electric on Monday night as the Panthers are basically eliminated with a loss. The Saints have been solid all year long, and they will get their fair share of points. The Panthers will have trouble running the ball against this incredible Saints run defense. However, McCaffery is a dual-threat back and should find success receiving the ball. Look for Cam Newton to show up big in this prime-time game and keep the Panthers in this one throughout. Take Carolina +6.
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