Don't look now, but the Carolina Panthers have played them selves into position to actually have a big game here this weekend in week 7 of the NFL season. The 3-3 panthers travel to New Orleans to face their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints. A win here by Carolina would move them ahead of the Saints in the NFC South and could even pull them into a tie with Tampa Bay, depending on how they fare Sunday at Las Vegas. Carolina lost twice to New Orleans last year, but they covered in one of the losses, losing 34-31 as 10 point underdogs. The Saints are favored here by a touchdown at 7 points.
Panthers can't solve the Bears defenseThe Panthers had a gold opportunity to move into first place all alone last week, but stumbled against the upstart Bears, who, somehow, are 5-1. As is typical in a game against the Bears, which has one of the NFL's best defenses, it was a low-scoring game as the Bears won 23-16. Carolina cut the Bears lead t0 20-13 with a touchdown run by Mike Davis in the fourth quarter, but the Bears increased their lead to 23-13 on a Carlos Santana field goal and held on for the win.
Carolina moved the ball against the Bears with 303 total yards to 261 for the Bears, but turnovers, sacks and interceptions killed the Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater threw 2 interceptions and was just 16 for 29 for 216 yards. The Panthers offensive line gave up 4 sacks for a combined loss of 25 yards, and they lost a fumble. Oh yeah, one of those interceptions was a pick six, and the fumble was returned for a touchdown.
Last time Eddie Jackson played the Panthers, he went absolutely crazy.— Bears Film Room (@BearsFilmRoom) October 15, 2020
- 75-yard fumble recovery for TD
- 76-yard pick-six
We are ready for the encore.pic.twitter.com/1k3PSEoWTY
That's how the Bears have been winning. DJ Moore was a bright spot with 5 catches for 93 yards receiving while Mike Davis had 52 yards on the ground.
Saints Are Well RestedMany pundits picked the Saints to come out of the NFC this year, but so far, Drew Brees and Co. has not looked great. That's not to say they've looked bad as they are 3-2, but their defense has been suspect. They allow 31 points per game, which is 25th in the league. But if you look closer at the numbers, they are 6th in total yards against, 13th in passing yards against, and 6th in rushing yards against. The 31 points per game doesn't make sense, given how stingy they have been on giving up yards. Call it a break-but-don't-bend defense.
They are coming off a bye week and stand at 3-2. The bye probably did them some good as they gave their star receiver Michael Thomas more time to heal. Thomas has been out since a week 1 injury, but he's listed as questionable for Sunday, which means he could play. but the offense hasn't been the problem. The Saints average 31 points per game, which is 5th in the league, and 2nd in the third down conversion percentage. But getting Thomas back certainly won't hurt.
Stats & Trends
- Panthers are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
- Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Panthers are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 vs. NFC.
- Panthers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Panthers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Saints are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 7.
- Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC South.
- Saints are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a bye week.
- Saints are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Saints are 37-14 ATS in their last 51 games in October.
- Saints are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game.
Take the Saints here giving up the points. Here's the deal, the Saints needed that bye week. Their defense has actually been much better than it has shown in terms of points allowed. If you look at their strength against the run, in particular, they should be able to shut down the Panthers running game. That leaves it up to former Saint Bridgewater to beat them and that defense knows his tendencies, which will come in handy. I think the combination of rest and a somewhat lackluster Panthers defense will result in the Saints winning this by a touchdown at least. The Panthers have a good defense themselves, but the Saints have too much firepower, especially if Thomas is back.