The New Orleans Saints will take on the Carolina Panthers for the first time this season on Sunday. Here’s what they must do to win.
While Carolina looks to bounce back after a loss to Atlanta, the New Orleans Saints hope to keep their momentum alive after besting the Tampa Bay Bucs. MVP candidates, dominant defenses and key injuries will determine the outcome of this NFC South divisional match-up.
Carolina brings the league-leading defense in terms of sacks while New Orleans’ offensive line has protected the passer well throughout the season.
The Saints’ offensive line has given up the sixth-fewest sacks through week 12.
However, missing from the offensive line for a second consecutive week will be Andrus Peat. If New Orleans is able to protect Drew Brees, the Saints will have time to get the ball in the hands of capable playmakers.
Michael Thomas has largely been left out of the MVP discussion although certainly noteworthy. Last week, Thomas became the quickest player to reach 90 receptions in a season and leads the league in receiving yards.
An average performance by Thomas’ standards will give the Saints’ offense the kick-start it needs to “move dem chains.”
Christian McCaffrey has emerged as an MVP dark-horse after averaging 105.9 yards per game rushing and 51.7 yards per game receiving. Kyle Allen will be the only Panther to touch the ball more than McCaffrey.
Allen replaces an injured Cam Newton at quarterback. New Orleans holding McCaffrey to 100 yards or less from scrimmage is maybe the biggest key to victory. If McCaffrey single-handedly beats your fantasy football team, he’ll likely do the same to the Saints.
Finally, the Saints will benefit from home-field advantage. Winning your home games in the NFL is the blueprint for teams to have a winning season. The Saints have won four out of five at home and boast one of the loudest stadiums in the league.