The Saints are currently 6.5-point favorites to the Panthers, according to DraftKings sportsbook, and their stingy secondary is a big reason why.
Lattimore’s up-and-down season has been well-documented – giving up the second-most receiving yards in coverage this year (833), while also leading the league in pass breakups (18) – according to PFF.
But lately, the roller coaster ride has taken a positive turn for the fifth-year corner.
Over the last four weeks, he’s only given up 77 yards on a 46.7% completion rate allowed, while allowing no touchdowns, breaking up four passes and picking off a pass. In that span, he’s committed ZERO penalties, which is truly something to behold with his play style.
He also hasn’t missed a tackle, and he’s only given up 31 yards after the catch in that time period. Very impressive stuff.
Now, the question is if he can keep this up against an impressive receiver in D.J. Moore this upcoming Sunday.
Despite lackluster to mediocre quarterback play for pretty much his entire career, Moore has already recorded his third-consecutive 1,000-yard season with the Panthers. And with a full arsenal of route capabilities at varying ranges of the field, he’s been able to overcome vast deficiencies at the QB position for his team this year.
He’s put up 1,041 yards and four TDs this season as primarily an outside receiver, with nearly 82% of his snaps coming out wide. That means we should see plenty of Lattimore on him in this game.
He’s done the most damage this year in the intermediate level of the field, with 287 of his yards coming between 10-20 yards and in between the hashes. On these plays, he’s posted over a 95 PFF grade – higher than any other area of the field for him.
This means Lattimore will have to look to break on those deep dig routes and crossing routes going over the middle of the field to try and prevent these chunk plays from coming to fruition.
With a limited offense and shaky QB situation, Moore is one of the only reliable weapons the Panthers have. So, if Lattimore can shut him down, it could go a long way towards making this a winnable game for the Saints.
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