Saints Offense vs Panthers Defense
The Saints were able to pick apart a poor defense en route to 52 points last Friday, and luckily for them, the quality of completion isn’t getting any better.
The Panthers rank 20th in yards allowed per play this season, and that total is honestly higher than you’d expect given their overall roster talent.
Few teams are starting as many young defensive starters as they are, and while that leads to exciting flash plays, it also leads to a mistake-prone team. For instance, they rank in the top-ten in penalties and also are a bottom-five rush defense.
Quietly, they’ve been very strong against the pass this season- they’re 11th in yards allowed/pass attempt.
At the same time, in recent weeks, they have also gotten to face Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and the Lions, so their success may be inflated slightly by that. In fact, they let Lock throw for four touchdowns against them, which is not what you’d expect from a defense rated so highly.
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Regardless, you have to give a lot of credit to first-year defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The Panthers held Aaron Rodgers to arguably his worst game of the season, and they’re a team with a lot of overall speed.
The Saints, on the other hand, are more of a power-oriented team, making this a fascinating matchup.
When these two teams faced off in Week 7, New Orleans posted 415 total yards and averaged 6.2 yards/play. Remember, that came with Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, and Marquez Callaway as the team’s top three receivers.
As a young team whose best players are their pass rushers, it’s not shocking that Carolina would not match up well with Brees and the team’s quick passing game, particularly since their middle-of-the-field coverage is lacking.
They rank in the top-ten in passing yards allowed to tight ends and running backs, and with the Saints so limited at the receiver position, I’m expecting Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and Adam Trautman to all play a key role in the passing game.
I’m guessing they won’t run for 264 yards and seven touchdowns again, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see New Orleans continue to have success on the ground.
Rushing production is rather volatile, but considering the Panthers’ consistently abysmal performances against the run, it wouldn’t be a shocked to see them be able to run the ball effectively just based on them taking advantage of the opposing defense.
Carolina has some young players to build around defensively, but they’re still a work in progress.
Brees should hopefully be able to pick apart their lackluster middle-of-the-field coverage, while this may be a game where the Saints are able to run the ball efficiently enough for it to be a part of a successful overall offensive attack.