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2021-01-03
New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers
League : NFL

Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints Prediction & Preview


 

 

The New Orleans Saints are 11-4 and have already qualified for the NFL postseason but the Saints seeding is still unknown. At this point, New Orleans is number 2 in the NFC one game behind Green Bay and if the two tied for first in the NFC Green Bay holds the advantage after defeating New Orleans in week 3. New Orleans is currently tied with Seattle at 11-4 and the Saints hold the tiebreaker over Seattle due to a better overall Conference record. If New Orleans wins, and Green Bay loses while Seattle beats San Francisco the Saints would be the number one seed, the Seahawks would be number two and Green Bay would fall to third.

Carolina does not have to worry about any other teams nor how they finish their final game of the regular season as the Panthers are out of playoff contention at 5-10. Carolina defeated Washington 20-13 last Sunday and the victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Panthers. Carolina's offense has suffered through most of the season without its top performer Christian McCaffrey. However, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater performed well in his first season under center for the Panthers.

 

Saints battling for one of top three seeds in the NFC

Several scenarios will play out on Sunday across 3 games including New Orleans versus Carolina, Green Bay versus Chicago and Seattle versus San Francisco. If Green Bay wins, the Packers remain the number one seed in the NFC throughout the Conference playoffs, but a Green Bay loss will bring New Orleans and Seattle into the picture as the possible No. 1 seed in the NFC. Regardless, New Orleans has played well both offensively and defensively. On the offense, Drew Brees Is back under center after missing several games with an injury and has passed for 2741 yards with 21 touchdowns, while running back Alvin Kamara is the leading rusher as well as receiver with 932 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns while having 756 yards receiving and five touchdowns. However, Kamara will miss this game (and possibly the first-round) due to testing positive to COVID-19 and his backups including Latavius Murray are also out.

 

The New Orleans defense is holding its opposition to just 22.0 points per game. The Saints are allowing an average of 215.1 yards per game passing and an average of 95.2 yards per game rushing. Opposing offenses are averaging just 3.9 yards per carry against the Saints defense. The statistical leaders for the New Orleans defense are linebacker Demario Davis with a team-high 114 tackles, defensive end Trey Hendrickson with a team-high 12.5 quarterback sacks and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Marcus Williams with three interceptions each.

Injury Report: Safety CJ Gardner Johnson is out, while safety Marcus Williams, defensive tackle David Onyemata and running back Latavius Murray are questionable, as are center Nick Easton and defensive end Trey Hendrickson.

 

Teddy Bridgewater has earned his keep

Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has proved he is a worthy signal-caller in the NFL. Bridgewater in 14 games played thus far this season has passed for 3557 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions while playing most of the season without his top offensive performer Christian McCaffrey. Running back Mike Davis is the leading rusher for Carolina with 642 yards and wide receiver DJ Moore has 61 receptions for 1092 yards, while close behind is Robby Anderson with 92 receptions for 1056 yards.

 

 

The Carolina defense can only be described as average. The defense is allowing an average of 24.6 points per, which is 18th in the NFL. The Panthers are allowing an average of 242.3 yards per game passing and 118.6 yards per game rushing, while opposing offenses are averaging 4.7 yards per carry against Carolina.The statistical leaders on defense for Carolina are safety Jeremy Chinn with a team-high 110 tackles, defensive end Brian Burns with a team-high nine quarterback sacks and cornerback Donte Jackson with a team-high three interceptions.

Injury Report: Offensive tackle Russell Okung is out, while defensive end Brian Burns, guard John Miller, running back Mike Davis and running back Alex Armah are all questionable for Carolina



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