Prediction - New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Prediction - New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers”

While Thomas leads the Saints with 10 catches for 134 yards, he has no TDs and doesn't yet have the sense that New Orleans' offense is in sync.

New Orleans has to slow down a Carolina offense that has enabled the Panthers to have a time-of-possession advantage of 59:06 to 30:54 in the last six quarters. Kickoff is set for 1 o'clock and Fox (WGHP, Ch. 8 locally) provides live television coverage. But the team didn't stand pat in the offseason, adding 17-year veteran defensive end Julius Peppers, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Mike Adams to the mix, bringing a veteran flavor to go along with two young, but improving cornerbacks in James Bradberry and Daryl Worley. The Panthers aren't as prolific on offense, but the Saints will make them look better than they are.

Cam Newton is now questionable to face the Saints, but the struggling quarterback should play and be ready to get his season moving in the right direction. Injuries have continued to plague him into this season, most recently with an ankle injury last week. And that has been the entirety of the offense for the Panthers. If you've been waiting for rookie running back Christian McCaffrey to put up some big numbers, this is probably the game. They're fresh off a 9-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills last week. And it has been about making consistent stops, as they hold teams to a 25 percent third down average with only 23 first downs given up in total.

Like the Panthers, the Saints have also had trouble getting their two-man running game going.

It's been a rough start for the Saints on defense as they've surrendered 65 points over their first two games. The rushing game averages just over 70 per game with no touchdowns so far. On Sunday afternoon, we've got a very important NFC South rivalry game on tap. That's also meant that there's still little clarity at the running back position, with Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara all struggling for touches. Although Pierre Garcon found success against them in Week 1, Carolina has been able to limit opposing receivers in the early season. While the Saints are a dome team, that offense can put up points on just about anybody. He and Lattimore absent from the secondary on Sunday will open the door for Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris to make plays against Cam Newton and the Panthers.

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