Saints vs. Panthers Preview: New Rivalry Begins

Saints Panthers

The best way to describe Sundays’ beatdown against the Green Bay Packers — no mercy! The win by the New Orleans Saints 38-3 was one for the books. The defense terrorized Aaron Rodgers all day long. Every single play worked to perfection. The turnover ratio was plus three favoring the Saints. Heck, even the referees looked to be huggable zebras on Sunday. All in all, the game played out as a dream would. Most importantly, the Saints are 1-0. Known for their slow starts, the Saints are ahead of schedule with a win early on. This is new territory. Enjoy the ride in September. This game on Sunday can prove crucial to both the Saints and Panthers come December.

New Rivalry Begins on Sunday for both Saints and Panthers

That being said, the next opponent is the new look Carolina Panthers. And the Saints have a new look too. First, looking at what the Panthers did last week. The Panthers beat the New York Jets 19-14 in Week 1. So this division game is critical to both teams. As a matter of fact, three teams in the NFC South are 1-0 except for the hapless Atlanta Falcons.

The Panthers have Sam Darnold as starting quarterback in 2021. This is his chance to prove worth after a lackluster career for the New York Jets. He’s off to a good start. The stats don’t reflect the efficiency of Sam Darnold in the first start for the Panthers. He was 24  of 35 for 279 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Add a healthy Christian McCaffrey, and the offense did enough as the Panthers’ defense hit the Jets quarterback Zach Wilson 10 times with six quarterback sacks.

Carolina Bringing the Heat on Sunday

Defensive end Brian Burns put it simply. “The strategy was to hit him a lot, be in his face a lot, try to confuse, and just basically make his first game hell. ”That’s exactly what happened. Also, the Panthers held the Jets to 45 yards rushing on 17 carries — along with a measly 2.6 yards per carry.

Obviously, the Jets are not expected to be playoff contenders this year but expect a different Panthers team this time around. The Saints have dominated the series as of late, winning eight of the last nine. In addition, the last four games have been won by the Saints by an average of 16 points. In those games, the Saints averaged 34 points and gave up an average of 18.

Still, the Panthers usually play a few close battles with the Saints every other game. With so much on the line this game should be close.

Of course, no one saw the Saints pummeling the Packers last week. Coming off a big win can present a challenge. It’s irrational to believe another blowout is upcoming. Saints have a lot of uncertainties due to injuries. Moreover, this is a true road game with a full stadium of opposing fans. And Week 1 is hard to gauge as far as predicting a whole season. Nonetheless, there are plenty of things to be happy with.

Plenty of Mojo Going for the Black and Gold

Running back Tony Jones Jr. looked to be a nice compliment to Alvin Kamara. He ran for 50 yards on 11 carries. He hit the holes nicely and made swift decisions. Jameis Winston looked to be flawless. Additionally, he threw to eight different receivers for 151 yards. Winston looked poised all day long and didn’t panic when pressed. Although this is true, Winston didn’t feel much pressure or having to play from behind. The Panthers look to prove they are legitimate by showing up against the Saints.

This will be a good game to see how Winston reacts if pressured. The Saints defense looked to be as good as advertised. Being 1-0 is much better than searching for the first victory of the season. The next one should be intriguing to see if the Saints can handle success.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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