Despite the fact that they are favored by 7.5 points, this will not be an easy game for the Saints.
As mentioned, Carolina has weapons to challenge New Orleans’ defense, and with the rushing attack likely to regress, it is hard to have faith in an offense that can not push the ball down the field.
At the same time, Bridgewater hasn’t proven to be capable of doing that either, which hides one of the Saints’ greatest vulnerabilities. If his turnover luck, or New Orleans’ struggles on third down, revert back to the mean, then this could turn into a blowout.
I am not very confident in this prediction, but based simply on the fact that the Saints are better than they have played, and the Panthers have probably overachieved, I’ll pick New Orleans to cover that spread.
Regardless will be a pivotal game for us to really know what they are made of. Yes, a win would be nice, but, at some point, they will need to exert some sort of superiority over weaker opponents to prove that they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.