The New Orleans Saints come home following two demoralizing road losses in their last two games. The reward waiting for them on their homecoming is the last undefeated team left in the NFL this season, the Carolina Panthers. The Saints are widely regarded to have absolutely no chance to to look decent in this game, much less actually win it. In theory, this game could be worse than the 41-10 skulldragging in the Superdome last season.
The Panthers boast the 4th ranked rushing offense as well as the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL, both of which play right into decimating the Saints. It's pretty clear that the Saints are going to get steamrolled, but things aren't always what they seem. Is one of the most, if not the most surprising upsets of the season about to happen in the Superdome? Let's take a deeper look at this game and all of the rest on the Week 13 schedule.
Last week I went 8-8
Thursday, December 3rd - Thursday Night Football
Packers(7-4) at Lions(4-7)
It was less than a month ago that Detroit started their winning streak by beating Green Bay in Lambeau. This time, the Packers return the favor by winning at Ford Field. Green Bay wins 23-20.
Sunday, December 6th - Early Games
The Jets will take advantage of the Giants' atrocious defense while leaning on their own stellar defense to make crucial stops in the end. Jets win 28-25.
Arizona is arguably the best team in the NFL and are certainly the most well rounded. They will avenge a puzzling loss to St. Louis earlier in the year, with a win here. Arizona wins 35-13.
Atlanta's freefall season continues as they plummet closer to Earth with a loss in Tampa Bay. Tampa wins 29-13.
With the two top rushing offenses in the NFL on display, both defenses will need to be up to the challenge. Russell Wilson will have just a little bit more than Teddy Bridgewater will, when their teams need them most. Seattle wins 28-20.
The worst offense in the league travels to the Windy City to face a Bears team that is as confident as they've been all season. Chicago wins 21-12.
The Jaguars are below mediocre at just about everything, but that won't matter much in Tennessee, as the Titans can't score points to save their lives. Jacksonville wins 24-16.
Texans(6-5) at Bills(5-6)
Buffalo will keep Houston's defense off balance thanks to a tough running game paired with timely playaction passes, while their defense attacks Houston's poor quarterback play. Buffalo wins 28-10.
Miami will lean heavily on their passing game to attack Baltimore downfield, with success. Miami wins 28-20.
Just when you think how miserable it is to be a Saints fan in 2015, remember Cleveland Browns football for the past half-century. Cincinnati wins 35-13.
Sunday, December 6th - Late Games
Chiefs(6-5) at Raiders(5-6)
Kansas City will pick up a huge divisional win on the road, behind a surprisingly effective game through the air by Alex Smith. Kansas City wins 25-19.
Denver's defense will overwhelm the Chargers in San Diego, while Brock Osweiler continues to gain confidence. Denver wins 28-15.
Eagles(4-7) at Patriots(10-1)
Much like Chip Kelly's grip on this Eagles team, all hope is lost in Philly. The Pats meanwhile will take out their frustrations following their Week 12 loss on the poor, helpless Eagles. New England wins 45-12.
Panthers(11-0) at Saints(4-7)
Carolina has done everything the Saints have been incapable of doing this season. They win despite injuries, they win the close games, they cruise to victory in others, they just win despite the obstacles. They have taken advantage of a laughably soft schedule, the same schedule the Saints have, and have come out unscathed. The thing though is that strange things can happen in divisional play, and the Saints know the Panthers as well as any them in the league. Even without Drew Brees, the Saints were within a fingertip pick from beating the Panthers in Carolina this season.
The Saints really should get worked in this game, but there really is a chance the Saints pull themselves together for just one day to pull off a the upset, just like they did at home against the then undefeated Falcons earlier in the season. If you think Carolina is this unbeatable juggernaut, they are taking advantage of a favorable schedule and are creating an illusion of greatness, one that will reveal itself when they face the likes of Arizona in the playoffs.
The Saints are bad, that's undeniable, but bad teams still win games against good teams. Beating the undefeated Panthers this Sunday would be the most Saints move ever, really. In fact, it's borderline delusional to even suggest they have a shot of pulling it off, and that's just why they will. New Orleans wins 26-24.
Sunday Night Football
Pittsburgh's offense will continue to roll this week against Indy and their suspect defense. Pittsburgh wins 28-14.
Monday, December 7th - Monday Night Football
All hope is lost for Dallas. All of it. Washington wins 24-17.
There it is, Week 13 of the NFL season. The Saints looking to play the role of spoiler is enough to keep our interest this week. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below.