New Orleans made a bigger impression than just about any team in the NFL last week. The Saints picked up a 38-3 blowout over Green Bay to open the season. They will try to build on that victory when they travel to Carolina on Sunday afternoon. The Panthers are coming off a 19-14 win over the Jets.
Line Movements & Weather
The Saints have gone from -2 to 3, 3.5 or 4, depending on where you shop with New Orleans taking in 55% of the bets.
The OU line has gone from 47.5 down to 44.5 at most sportsbooks, despite the Over grabbing 63% of the bets.
Gametime Weather: Partly cloudy skies with temps in the mid-80s.
Saints silence doubtersPlenty of critics had their doubts about New Orleans coming into the season, but they were silenced in Week 1. The Saints, who have been moved to Florida due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Ida, were dominant in a 38-3 win over Green Bay. They replaced veteran quarterback Drew Brees with Jameis Winston. He threw for five touchdowns and the defense picked off reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers twice. Winston led the NFL with 30 interceptions as Tampa Bay’s starter in 2019, but he was 14 of 20 for 148 yards and no interceptions last week. The Saints added 171 rushing yards.
Star back Alvin Kamara had 20 carries for 83 yards, while Tony Jones Jr. had 11 attempts for 50 yards. Winston utilized his mobility as well, rushing six times for 37 yards. He became the first quarterback to throw five touchdowns with less than 150 passing yards. Wide receiver Deonte Harris caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, including a 55-yard strike. Michael Thomas will remain out with an ankle injury. New Orleans lost some weapons during the offseason, as Emmanuel Sanders is in Buffalo and Jared Cook is with the Chargers. The Saints allowed just 2.87 yards per carry last week.
Out - LB Chase Hansen, DE Marcus Davenport, LB Kwon Alexander, LB Pete Werner, WR Michael Thomas, DB Marshon Lattimore, C Erik McCoy, DB Ken Crawley, WR Tre'quan Smith, TE Nick Vannett, C Will Clapp, OL Ethan Greenidge, and TE Dylan Soehner
Questionable - DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson, DB P.J. Williams, and TE Tanoh Kpassagnon
Panthers pressure disrupts JetsCarolina did not put up the offensive numbers that New Orleans did in Week 1, but it is 1-0 as well. The Panthers won their first season opener since 2018 when they knocked off the Jets in a 19-14 final. New quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 279 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for another score. Darnold threw a 57-yard touchdown to wide receiver Robby Anderson. Star running back Christian McCaffrey returned from a season-ending injury and looked very good. He notched 187 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches after missing 13 games last year. McCaffrey leads the NFL in scrimmage yards per game since 2018.
work week— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 17, 2021
Darnold’s 234 passing yards were the most in a first half in his career. He had 11 first-down completions and four completions over 20 yards. Wide receiver DJ Moore has gone over 80 yards in his last four games against New Orleans. The Panthers allowed 2.65 yards per carry, which was the best in the league. They tied the NFL lead with six sacks, hitting Zach Wilson nine times. It took Carolina seven games to reach six sacks last year, so that was a major improvement. The Panthers were next to last in defensive third-down rate last year, but they held New York to 30.8% last week.
Out - DB Myles Hartsfield, DB A.J. Bouye, and LS Thomas Fletcher
Questionable - OT Taylor Moton and DT DaQuan Jones
New Orleans is:
- 1-6 ATS in its last seven games vs. a team with a winning record
- 0-4 ATS in its last four Week 2 games
- 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as an underdog
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games vs. the NFC
- 5-2 ATS in its last seven games overall
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This feels like a spot where the public is going to be all over New Orleans after its Week 1 game. The Saints silenced the critics with a blowout win against the reigning MVP. However, there has been an overreaction following that game. Carolina answered plenty of questions in its own right last week. I was worried about McCaffrey’s health coming into the year, but he looked like his old self against New York. The Panthers shut down the Jets' offense and were able to get pressure throughout the game. Winston has struggled with turnover issues throughout his career, so pressure could play a key role.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Saints' offense is going to receive all the attention heading into this game, but their defense should be receiving more credit. They were excellent against Rodgers and the Green Bay rushing attack last week. Carolina has a consistent offense with McCaffrey, but its offense is not explosive with Darnold at the helm. On the other side, the Panthers' defense is coming off a strong performance. They shut down Wilson last week and were getting pressure on him throughout the game. Both of these defenses are upgraded, which leads to value on the under.