Week 3 takes us to the Queen City, where the New Orleans Saints, if my predictions are correct, will come in with a 2-0 record. However, Sir Purr and the Carolina Panthers stand in their way. This has always been an intriguing matchup because the Panthers step their game up against New Orleans more times than not. The group discusses.
Matt: It’s time for the negative.
Yes, I think the Saints are better than Carolina. However, the Panthers have been kryptonite for New Orleans, and although the Saints are 4-1 in their last five trips to North Carolina, I think the Panthers will have a lot to prove.
Not to mention a healthy Christian McCaffery.
McCaffery is due for a big season after all the injuries he’s endured over the last couple years. Run CMC will have a big game against the New Orleans defense, and Carolina wins big.
Score: Panthers win 31-14
Chris: The Saints are a better team than the Panthers on paper on both sides of the ball. Yes, the Saints split the 2021 season series against the Panthers last year, but the loss came during a game when the Saints were missing their entire assistant coaching staff. If you recall, the damage was so bad due to a Covid outbreak that rookie quarterback Ian Book was in charge of scheduling substitutions on the Saints offense. I’ll give the Saints a pass on that one.
I understand the Panthers are getting back a healthy Christian McCaffrey, but the Saints are expected to have their own returning offensive All-Pro weapon in Michael Thomas.
Sam Darnold failed to impress last season, and the Panthers could very well be trotting out Baker Mayfield as their quarterback by the time this game kicks off. Regardless, I expect the Saints to do enough to contain the Panthers offense while on defense and the Saints offense to be conservative but still put up enough points to win.
Score: Saints win 21-10
Tina: The Saints will march into Carolina looking to start 3-0 for the season that also will give them 3 straight divisional wins. Will it be Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield at quarterback, that’s a big question in Carolina. The bigger question is will the defense be able to stop Christian McCaffrey? He is the Panthers go to guy and after missing most of last season, he will be ready to run all over anyone in his way.
But don't forget about the Saints’ own explosive running back, Alvin Kamara. Plus... Mike Thomas, Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave who have only had more time with Jameis Winston to develop chemistry and are starting to find their rhythm. This game will start off slow but in the end, the Panthers defense won’t be able to contain the Saints who will second line home undefeated after week 3.
Score: Saints win 24-17