It’s Week 3, and we’re back again with the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Bradley Smith of Cat Scratch Reader answers 5 quick questions about the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers:
Obviously his participation in practice this week will be telling, but how do you expect Cam Newton's injury to affect his performance or the play-calling this week?
I think he'll be okay on Sunday. He was a little banged up by the Bills but his injury doesn't appear to be too serious. If it has any effect on the game it would be fewer designed runs, but other than that Cam should be ready to go.
Losing All-World TE Greg Olsen for an extended period of time would hurt any team. What pass-catcher will be expected to pick up the slack in his absence?
At tight end, Ed Dickson is expected to fill the gigantic void left by Olsen's injury. Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin should also see more targets.
The Panthers have yet to face a top offense this season through two weeks, but where would you say the weakness (if there is one) would be? Is it best for the Saints to try to run the ball? Short pass plays? Attack the secondary deep down the field?
The Panthers' biggest weakness on defense is their secondary depth, or lack thereof. If the Saints want to win they're going to have to exploit the secondary and force the Panthers to start rotating corners and safeties.
Which player that Saints fans might not have heard of do you expect to make a big impact on the game?
We just called FB/TE Alex Armah up from the practice squad to fill Greg Olsen's vacant spot on the roster, and if the Panthers activate him on game day he could be someone to watch out for. He had a solid preseason, and a lot of Panthers fans were surprised he didn't make the final 53-man roster.
Predictions for the game? Final score?
Three of the last four Panthers-Saints games have been decided by 3 points, two of which were 41-38 shootouts where the two teams traded wins. I expect we'll see another one of those kind of games on Sunday, since the Saints don't like to play defense and Drew Brees is still "pretty good" at quarterback. I don't quite think we'll have a 41-38 barn burner, but I do believe we'll see a lot of points on the board. I'm going to go with 31-28 Panthers.
Thank-you, Bradley, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Rich and the work his guys are doing over at Cat Scratch Reader. You can follow them on Twitter @CatScratchReadr, and you can follow Bradley on Twitter @bdubsmitty.