The New Orleans Saints (1-3) and Carolina Panthers (1-4) appear to be meeting each other at the right time. Both clubs, who’ve had a disappointing start to their 2016 campaigns, could use a victory in Week 6. For the Saints, that’s no easy feat. The Saints are 0-2 at home this young season, and are just 7-11 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since the end of 2013.
The Panthers have had the Saints’ number over the years, winning six of their last eight and three in a row. They’ve also won three out of the last four in New Orleans, with their lone loss coming in 2013. In each of the Panthers road victories from the past several seasons, they’ve averaged 42 points per game.
If the Saints are going to return to form at home, which was once thought of as an impenetrable place to play, then Sean Payton’s squad has plenty of work to do. For starters, the defense has been anything but bad in their past seven contests by allowing an average of 38 points per game.
In that stretch, the lowest points allowed in any one game was 27 against the Jacksonville Jaguars (12/27/15). In the past two seasons, the Saints have only surrendered 25 points or less in just four of the past 18 games. For some perspective, Rob Ryan’s 2013 defense allowed 20 points or less in all eight home victories that season.
Dennis Allen’s defense has shown flashes of promise and encouragement, but aside the Week 2 meeting against the New York Giants, things haven’t gone the way anyone has wanted them to. Injuries have plagued the Saints, which has led to a host of players who were technically not supposed to be playing as much this season take the spotlight. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the NFL, and if anything it shows the importance and value of having a strong depth chart.
Atlanta’s hot start has undoubtedly grabbed the attention of many across the league, but we’ve seen this story before. All the Saints need to worry about right now is building off of their Week 4 momentum, which provided a sigh of relief for many with the team getting their first victory in 2009-like fashion. Here’s to hoping a week off has provided the opportunity for players to get healthier and the team’s focus to hone in and do better at home.