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Behind Enemy Lines - New Orleans

Dec 06 2013 04:41 AM Zod Carolina Panthers
Sunday night presents to us the biggest game the Carolina Panthers have played in nearly 5 years. If they Panthers can somehow pull out a victory against the Saints in New Orleans and the division title is the Panthers to lose. A loss in New Orleans would force the Panthers to require a little help from here on out from around the league.

Either way, Panthers fans once again are excited about a December game, and that is something worth celebrating in and of itself.

The Saints also know how important this game is.

From NOLA.com

"We know what's at stake," Drew Brees said. "... This game is the most important game of the season."


Drew Brees and the Saints are notorious for downplaying the significance of individual games. Not this week.

Saints coach Sean Payton agrees.

"It is playing an important game with regards to the division," Payton said. "It's a Sunday night game at home, those are things that you get excited about. I think at this point in the year playing in a division race like we are, I think both teams will be ready and excited.


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According to NOLA.com , Saints defense is struggling on third down....

But since holding Dallas to 0-for-9 on third down Nov. 10, that number has been creeping back up. The San Francisco 49ers converted 6-of-15 (40 percent) of their third downs, while the Atlanta Falcons were 6-of-12. The Seahawks were 7-of-14 on third down Monday, a season high for the Saints' defense. In contrast, Carolina allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to convert just 1-of-10 third downs last Sunday. "We've just got to execute," said Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro. "We haven't been getting off the field as much on third down."


Giving up 50% of third down conversions over the last month is nothing to write home about and has much to do with why the Saints are 4-3 in the last 7 games. Looks for heavy doses of Mike Tolbert on third downs to loosen up the Saints defense even more.

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Drew Brees knows the Panthers Defense is top shelf...

"They're excellent," Brees said. "There's not a defense that's playing better than these guys. In every statistical category they're tops. Playing with a lot of confidence, they don't have a weak link."


Brees sees the game on Sunday night as an opportunity for vindication. He has a national platform to show the rest of the league the Saints are not the team that was whooped on Monday night, but rather a Superbowl contender. I expect to see the Saints come out throwing on Sunday night.

If the Panthers can keep it close in the first half, I like their chances. I am not sure they can keep up with New Orleans on their home turf if they go down by two scores. Mike Shula needs to have a solid game plan to move the ball efficiently from the first whistle. A few early punts could be the difference in the game.

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84 Comments

:: before

If we keep it close in the first half?!?! Who said we would be down. We might be up by 2 scores going into half time. I just don't see us struggling to keep up with the Saints. It's going to be a battle. But struggling to keep up. I doubt that. We will burn these jokers on Sunday.

Shula better have a good game plan. 3 & outs will kill us quickly.

Shula better have a good game plan. 3 & outs will kill us quickly.

 

Honestly I ain't worried about the Saints right now. We are 2-0 this season beating teams coming off Monday night games.

 

Pros and Cons.

 

Pros- Saints have Brees Graham and the home crowd behind them in the dome.

Cons- They are coming off a Monday night game and they stayed an extra day up in Seattle because of the plane broke down. The will be extra tired in the process and having less time to prepare and coming off a lose.

 

Pros and Cons

 

Pros- Panthers coming off a blow out against the Bucs at home and we are on an 8 game streak right now. We have the game tape from Monday night game for our guys to study and see what the Seahawks did to keep Saints down. Plus we are rested up and getting back CJ and  a few other guys from injuries for this game.

 

Cons- Cams struggles at times with his passing and our running game has struggle the past few weeks or so. Aside from Tolbert. We are in the dome which will hurt them at times and that might cause them to make mistakes on both sides of the ball.

 

Overall it looks like we have the upper hand on a Saints team that is going to be tired very little to prepare for us and coming off of a lose. We have to take care of business against them. It will be a tough game. But this game should be ours with no problem.

If the Panthers come out this week like they did against the Dolphins, they will lose this game.

I think some of you are forgetting how extremely difficult it is to sweep even an average divisional opponent.

 

The Saints are a good team. Sweeping them will be a HUGE accomplishment.

If the Panthers come out this week like they did against the Dolphins, they will lose this game.

 

Agreed. Though, I don't think they will. knowing the stakes for this game.

 

Nerves for the young players may be an issue though. BIG game. but it's the Next game that's the biggest right? here's hope'n they stay the course and play ball!

Start out flat, finish up flattened.
Like the info on the Saints 3rd downs. Couple that with the success Cam is having on 3rd down and that could be a great key in the game.

Honestly I ain't worried about the Saints right now. We are 2-0 this season beating teams coming off Monday night games.

 

Pros and Cons.

 

Pros- Saints have Brees Graham and the home crowd behind them in the dome.

Cons- They are coming off a Monday night game and they stayed an extra day up in Seattle because of the plane broke down. The will be extra tired in the process and having less time to prepare and coming off a lose.

 

Pros and Cons

 

Pros- Panthers coming off a blow out against the Bucs at home and we are on an 8 game streak right now. We have the game tape from Monday night game for our guys to study and see what the Seahawks did to keep Saints down. Plus we are rested up and getting back CJ and  a few other guys from injuries for this game.

 

Cons- Cams struggles at times with his passing and our running game has struggle the past few weeks or so. Aside from Tolbert. We are in the dome which will hurt them at times and that might cause them to make mistakes on both sides of the ball.

 

Overall it looks like we have the upper hand on a Saints team that is going to be tired very little to prepare for us and coming off of a lose. We have to take care of business against them. It will be a tough game. But this game should be ours with no problem.

 

I think we can/will win this game, but you're underestimating the Saints.

Like the info on the Saints 3rd downs. Couple that with the success Cam is having on 3rd down and that could be a great key in the game.

 

Very possible

I think some of you are forgetting how extremely difficult it is to sweep even an average divisional opponent.

The Saints are a good team. Sweeping them will be a HUGE accomplishment.


I believe any logical fan, especially of this organization understands that. With a sweep of Nawlins, it will indeed be HUGE, why? Because it gives us the #2 seed and a 1st round bye.
Nervous about this game, I just wanna get into the playoffs. It's been way too long

Nervous about this game, I just wanna get into the playoffs. It's been way too long


I want to win the Super Bowl...it's been even longer.

I hope we strike early, maybe create a quick turnover, whatever.  If we can get the crowd settled down early, that will be huge.

I believe any logical fan, especially of this organization understands that. With a sweep of Nawlins, it will indeed be HUGE, why? Because it gives us the #2 seed and a 1st round bye.

 

To be quite honest, the playoff scenario I think I would like the most would be to host a first round game, no bye.  In order for that to happen though, we would have to be the 3rd or 4th seed division winner, and I don't even think that's possible.  It appears to be either a first round bye, or a wildcard.

 

I'm not being picky, making the playoffs is the only true goal, but given the choice, I don't think I want that first round bye.  Call me crazy or superstitious, but that's how I see it.

If the Panthers come out this week like they did against the Dolphins, they will lose this game.


If the panthers came out like that with the bucs we would have lost. Then again we did not have Cameron Wake taking shots at Cams head either.

I think the teams confidence is extremely high and they will be ready. The Aints are not a team we shall fear. We shall fear no team, we can beat them all. 

the info on third down and the other stats someone posted yesterday(?) about how poorly the saints D is in the red zone make me really like our chances.

 

the fact that we have started out slow in most games really bothers me, tho, because we won't have an easy situation to come back in. the crowd in new orleans really amplifies the momentum and we just can not afford to get caught in that wake of noise and emotion.

 

we have to come out strong and fast right out of the gate and as "easy" as it might be on third down against that D, the noise will still be there and we can't afford to wait for that. we have to do well on first and second down on that first series to establish ourselves.

 

one of the things i noticed about that D was that they really bought on fakes, misdirections, and the read option. as much as some people around here hate the read option, it may end up being the best option to really get the saints D falling backwards.

 

when our defense is on the field, i don't think we need to change a whole lot from what we've been doing. constant pressure from the front four with the occassional blitz thrown in. the secondary will just keep the play in front of them which will help cut down on the big play. TD, keek, and mitchell will all take turns on graham and just bully him the whole game.

 

it won't be easy and it could certainly end up in a loss because the saints are still a tough team who can roll over anyone once they've got some momentum. we just have to keep stymying their efforts on both sides of the ball to disrupt any momentum that might be starting up.

 

I've said since the beginning of the season that i don't think we get swept by the saints. i thought we'd split. i still think it's a real possibility. i'd be surprised if we were able to sweep them. i don't expect it at all. i will say, though, that if either sweeps the other, it will be us sweeping them because this year the saints just aren't a good road team, and if brees thinks any differently he didn't do his research, obviously.

Panthers have to come out strong and get on the board early.  Keep them out of the endzone in the 1st qtr.  Cam needs to temper his excitement and not overthrow his receivers.  Got to win the turnover battle.
 
This is a big game but the Panthers have had plenty of practice...NE/Mon night, SF, a Thurs nite game.  Young players have some seasoning.
 
Panthers can win this.

I think a real key to this game will be how Cam handles the all out blitz which Ryan will bring early and often.  Ryan is looking at the Miami game where they blitzed early and loaded the box to try and take away the run. Frankly it worked and it made it difficult for us to get anything established.  When they did the same thing to Wilson he eluded the blitz and found receivers over the top for big gains.  Ryan's defense is a high risk high reward kind of defense. You have to beat it early and he will back off the heavy blitz and they will be exposed as they were on Monday night.

 

On defense it will come down to how well we play in man coverage and taking away the big play.  They will take shots deep against us within the first 5 plays to try and get a big score plus loosen up the underneath.  If we can play well 1 on 1 and stop the deep shots we should be fine.  If not it could be a long day.

Most ofnus feel this will be a high scoring affair fir both teams.

I wonder how our defense feels about that.
Something tells me they are licking their chops to go into their stadium, and dismantle the saints.

Our defense will not be scored on easily.
Remember in 2003 when no one said we could beat the Rams in their dome?

Or after that when they said we had no chance of beating the Eagles in Philly?

Or even better.... When they said there was absolutely NO WAY we could beat the 2005 Bears in Chicago?

Those were all funny stories....

Like I always say....weathermen and sports analysts are the two jobs where you can always be wrong and not get fired.

Hey Saints....fug you and your dome.

Panthers have to come out strong and get on the board early.  Keep them out of the endzone in the 1st qtr.  Cam needs to temper his excitement and not overthrow his receivers.  Got to won the turnover battle.

 

This is a big game but the Panthers have had plenty of practice...NE/Mon night, SF, a Thurs nite game.  Young players have some seasoning.

 

Panthers can win this.

 

 

I was thinking the same thing.  We can't let the Saints get off to a hot start.  If we keep them to less than 10 points or less in the first half that would be huge.  And Cam does have a tendency to get a little over-excited early in big games.  I hope Shula calls some quick, easy throws for him early on to get the jitters out.

godda get in Brees' face. if not he will pick us apart with his receivers transitioning to zones....

This team has been waiting to play this game since they beat the Patriots. They've been focused on it almost too much and it almost cost us against the Dolphins. They'll be ready to play,