Panthers Will Be Facing An Angry Saints Team Yet Again
By Danny Cox
The New Orleans Saints could have locked up a playoff spot this past weekend and gotten one step closer to becoming the NFC South champions, but their road woes hit them again. Now, the Carolina Panthers have a chance at getting the upper-hand in the division, but they’ve got to have a better outcome than what happened the last time the two teams met.
Right before the Saints and the Panthers met last, New Orleans had been demolished by the Seattle Seahawks. The next week? The Saints welcome the Panthers into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and gave Carolina their most lopsided loss this season.
This past weekend, the Saints were upset on the road by the St. Louis Rams, and they are not happy about it.
New Orleans is currently thinking of changing up the line-up on the team as well due to the loss to the Rams.
On Monday, Saints’ head coach Sean Payton said that personnel changes could be coming and that all positions needed to be evaluated. The two players in the hottest seats right now are kicker Garrett Hartley and offensive tackle Charles Brown.
Brown was beaten over and over again on Sunday, and it helped lead to four sacks of quarterback Drew Brees. That pressure also contributed to three turnovers by Brees that came the way of two very early interceptions and a lost fumble. Those turnovers ended up helping the Rams build an early 17-point lead that couldn’t be overcome.
Hartley has been inconsistent all season and it continued in St. Louis.
Against the Rams, Hartley missed two field goal including one that was blocked near the end of the first half. The Saints already brought in a number of kickers earlier this season to audition for a spot just in case Hartley didn’t improve. Well, it looks as some of those veterans may be coming in again.
Carolina had a lot of trouble with the Saints earlier this season as the Panthers couldn’t sustain drives and left points out on the field. They’ve got look at the blueprint that the Rams put forth this weekend and put it into place when the Saints come to town.
The Rams found ways to run on the highly-improved Saints defense and the Panthers have the weapons to do that if they can find the holes.
Drew Brees has so many targets when he drops back to pass and those include Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, and more. St. Louis found ways to stymie those receivers and put the pressure on Brees so they couldn’t be utilized.
Carolina could replicate the Rams’ success and take advantage of the Saints’ poor play on the road.
Those things are easier said than done because what the Saints do when they are angry or embarrassed, isn’t good for any opposing team. The Panthers really just need to play smart, play like they have the majority of the season, and fix the mistakes from their earlier meeting.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.