Keys to the Game: Saints vs. Panthers

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Offense

Oct 13, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Saints 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be real for a second. When you hear the analysis of this game, all you are going to hear about is, ‘In the last game…this team or player did this’. While that’s all nice, it still remains to be seen which offense will show up on Sunday.

There’s no real secret here for the Saints offense. They must start off strong, and play virtually error free. Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston torched the Panthers secondary in the first meeting, and there’s little to suggest that they won’t remain huge targets of Brees on the day.

What I would love to see is the Saints get the run game going. The hostility of the Panthers crowd will be evident, so what better way to take them out of the game by controlling time of possession through successful running plays?

What To Watch For: No brainer here, it’s Terron Armstead against Greg Hardy, as he will make his first career start at Left Tackle.

The removal of Charles Brown is one of those things where you can either go with the guy who just had the second worst game of his career who might have lost all confidence (or maybe not), or the rookie.

Maybe I am the only one who remembers the preseason. Armstead was amazing at getting downfield to open up the screen game. Sure, as Coach Payton said, he’s going to have growing pains like any other person that plays any position in the NFL.

Also, don’t you think the Panthers may look at overloading that side? Maybe Sean Payton knows that too? So you provide Jed Collins or Pierre Thomas to help on Drew’s blind side if needed. Hell, you hope they blitz from that side to potentially open things up for Drew.

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Tags: Cam Newton Drew Brees NFL 2013 Rob Ryan Ron Rivera Sean Payton Week 16 Matchups: Saints Vs. Panthers