The Saints Week 12 loss to the LA Rams seemed to rattle the cages of the NOLA faithful. In Week 13, the Panthers offer the Saints another stiff test, but of a different nature.
NFL pundits have been singing the praises of the LA Rams this year. Todd Gurley returned to dominance, the switch has flipped for Jared Goff, and head coach Sean McVay is the latest offensive wunderkind. The Carolina Panthers in Week 13 are a different sort of beast.
The Rams managed to beat the Saints with a free-flowing, pick-your-poison offense. Even with Robert Woods sitting on the bench injured.
It didn’t help the Saints’ cause that they faced one of the league’s hottest offenses without their top two corners. Not that we’re making excuses.
The Panthers on the other hand, let their Week 12 matchup against the Jets come too close for comfort. It wasn’t until late in the game when Carolina was able to score on defense and special teams to put the Jets away.
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But therein lies the difference between the Saints Week 12 and Week 13 opponents.
Cam Newton had been coming on of late, but struggled badly against the Jets. He threw for only 168 yards on 28 attempts, with a 39% completion percentage and a QB rating of 59.8.
Yet Carolina still managed to pull out the win on the backs of their defensive and special teams playmakers.
This week, unlike Week 12, the Saints won’t have to outperform their opponents’ stellar offense with their own.
They’ll have to hunker down and play tough. They’ll have to execute in all three phases of the game to come out on top. And after an uninspired showing from the Saints’ special teams in Week 12, that may be easier said than done.
The Saints/Panthers game will be an interesting match up. The Saints’ prolific offense will face off against the Panthers’ stifling defense. Carolina’s schizophrenic offense will face off against NOLA’s hot and cold defense.
If nothing else we’ll get an entertaining battle for NFC South supremacy.