Week 2 brought losses for both the Saints and Panthers, with offensive failures they’d like to quickly forget. New Orleans’ defense will be a tough matchup for a Carolina offense looking to find some kind of rhythm with Baker Mayfield under center, and another loss might make it time for the Panthers to hit the panic button.
Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and examine the odds ahead of Sunday’s matchup in Carolina.
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds
The Saints enter as 2.5-point road favorites and sit at -150 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 40.5 points.
This line hasn’t moved much at all despite Sunday’s revelation that Jameis Winston is dealing with four fractures in his back. Winston didn’t play well when it mattered against Tampa, so it’ll be worth monitoring updates on his status and pain tolerance this week.
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Prediction
The Panthers have played two close games to this point, so a blowout doesn’t seem likely, but I still like this Saints team a lot. There’s no shame in losing to the Buccaneers, who were shut out into the 3rd quarter by this New Orleans defense. If the Saints can run the ball more effectively and limit the turnovers, this should be a road victory.
Carolina’s close losses aren’t so much a matter of bad luck as they are a product of poor coaching. Matt Rhule doesn’t have his team ready to go offensively, for whatever reason, and Baker Mayfield’s struggles against the Giants don’t bode well with this tough Saints defense on tap.
There’s still a path to victory for the Panthers. If Winston is significantly hampered by his back injury and Carolina’s strong run defense can stop the Saints’ rushing attack, they might not need a huge offensive showing. At this point, though, I’m not a believer in Rhule or this team.
- The Saints are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 road games against a sub-.500 team. You could credit that to the Saints’ level of preparedness under former coach Sean Payton, but Dennis Allen is a Payton protege who has maintained the same mentality.
- The Panthers are 2-14 ATS in their last 16 games. Again, Rhule has only brought disappointment since Carolina’s 3-0 start last season. It’s hard to believe that trend will change anytime soon.
- The under is 7-2 in the Saints’ last 9 games. Defense continues to be the focal point for New Orleans in the post-Brees era.
New Orleans Saints Injuries: Jameis Winston played through four fractures in his back against the Buccaneers and is expected to start vs. Carolina. Running back Alvin Kamara is questionable after he missed Week 2 with a rib injury. Safety Marcus Maye’s status is uncertain after he exited the loss with a wrist injury. Wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith is questionable after missing two games with a shoulder injury.
Carolina Panthers Injuries: Cornerback Donte Jackson’s status is uncertain after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 2. The Panthers’ key pieces are otherwise healthy entering the week.
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Saints vs. Panthers below.
Saints Receivers vs. Panthers Secondary
The Saints’ passing game had nothing going against Tampa until garbage time, but Winston and his new trio of receivers impressed in Week 1. Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave could give the Panthers’ secondary some trouble.
With Donte Jackson potentially out, C.J. Henderson will have to step up alongside Jaycee Horn and face a major challenge. Thomas already has 3 touchdowns this season, and Landry turned back the clock in Week 1. This could be a bounce-back week for the passing game, especially if Kamara is limited or out.
Christian McCaffrey vs. Saints Run Defense
The Panthers’ offense was much better when Christian McCaffrey was on the field in 2020 and 2021. So far in 2022, Carolina’s offense hasn’t made strides with McCaffrey healthy, but the dynamic weapon did erupt for 102 rushing yards against the Giants. As Baker Mayfield struggles, it still seems like McCaffrey is the Panthers’ best bet for offensive success.
The Saints’ run defense struggled in Week 1 but clamped down on Leonard Fournette this past weekend. New Orleans also allowed a league-best 3.7 yards/carry in 2021. McCaffrey might need to break the Saints’ run defense for the Panthers to pull out a win.