Today the New Orleans Saints square off against the Carolina Panthers in the first southern divisional match of the 2017 NFL season. Two teams with diametrically opposed records. The Panthers at 2-0 and the Saints at 0-2. The following is a spoiler alert, for what is now written will surely transpire at Bank of America Stadium today.
Today’s Big Winners
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton has not exactly looked like a former MVP at this point in the season. Today will be a step forward for Newton as he faces the worst defense in the league, but he won’t quite look like his former self. He is still a few weeks out from that. However, improvement is improvement, and that is a good thing.
There are rumblings of doubt throughout Panthers nation already as to the value of Christian McCaffrey at pick right in the draft. Today, those rumblings are put to rest (for now). McCaffrey will have a breakout game against a defense that ranks last in the league against receiving running backs.
Two of the oldest guys on the field, Drew Brees and Julius Peppers, will meet more than once today, and not in a way Brees will appreciate. I have Peppers with one sack and two pressures for this game.
Today’s Big Losers
The much maligned Saints defense will be without both of their starting corners. This is a recipe for a knockout punch for a unit searching for any sense of pride. Today the Carolina Panthers put a nail in the Saint’s coffin, effectively removing any post season hope from their fan base. This sounds impressive, but those fans are already putting paper bags on their head.
Drew Brees will struggle today as the Saints offense looks like a shadow of its former self. For the first time, New Orleans media will question if Brees is a lame duck QB as they look to for the future at quarterback.
The Panthers put this one to bed before the fourth quarter starts. At that point, they start thinking about New England next week.
Carolina Panthers – 34
New Orleans Saints – 17
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