The New Orleans Saints will be at home again this week, taking on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are still searching for their second win of the season. Meanwhile, the Saints hang on to dear life, trying to win the division. Let’s take a dive into this divisional clash.
New Orleans Saints Preview
This has been a rough season for Saints fans. There were lofty expectations for the Saints, and they have fallen short in every way. If things continue, the Dennis Allen regime could be over very soon. The Saints underperforming is a theme in the Dennis Allen era. He’s 12-16 in his time as HC of the Saints.
Coming into this game, the Saints are bruised and battered. The team had 15 players on the injury report. With Derek Carr on the injury report, it’s possible that Jameis Winston will get the starting nod this week.
On the other side of the ball, one defensive player stood out to me in the loss versus the Detroit Lions. LB Zack Baun had a couple of really nice reps rushing the passer. The Saints have tried making him an all-around LB, and it just isn’t working. They need to stick Baun specifically in an EDGE rushing role. This is what he was so good at in college.
Zack Baun working against Penei Sewell. Obviously it's just one rep, but I wish Baun had more pass-rushing opportunities in New Orleans. Would bring more speed to the pass rush. pic.twitter.com/gk7fHP3YLF— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) December 4, 2023
Carolina Panthers Preview
The only organization that is more of a mess in the NFC South than the Saints is the Panthers. The Panthers are 1-11 and don’t own their first-round pick. This pick will likely be the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The team hired Frank Reich in the offseason, and he’s already been fired. Chris Tabor has taken over as interim head coach.
There are two players on the Panthers that are worth highlighting. The first is DT Derrick Brown. The former Auburn Tiger is one of the game’s best interior linemen. Brown has nine QB hits, 20 pressures, and 35 stops this season, per PFF. The second player is Brian Burns. The 25-year-old is one of the game’s most underrated players. He’s putting together another fantastic season with seven sacks, nine QB hits, and 14 hurries.
Who will win the game?
If the Saints don’t win this game, someone needs to be fired. Divisional games are always tough but losing to the 1-11 Panthers is unacceptable. This team has too much talent for them to lose to the Panthers. Even though the team is banged up, they should still win this game.
It will be interesting to see who starts this game at QB. Carr is extremely banged up, so it might be best to rest him. Whomever the QB is, if the Panthers want to win this game, they must take advantage of the Saints poor offensive line.
The Saints need to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Expect them to come out aggressive and firing.
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