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Numbers to Know: Saints vs. Panthers

What stood out from both team’s week one games?

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There’s nothing better than a week one victory.

The New Orleans Saints earned their first victory of the season after a 16-15 battle with the Tennessee Titans. Simultaneously, the Carolina Panthers picked up their first loss of the season after a 24-10 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

To quote Saints’ linebacker Demario Davis, “We all know that game didn’t have to be close,” but what exactly could the Saints do to improve their week one performance? Likewise, what can the Panthers do to earn their first win of 2023? Here are three numbers to know heading into the week two matchup.

2.5 Yards per Carry

What does it mean: The yards per carry from Saints running back Jamaal Williams against Tennessee.

Why should I care:

The weight of Alvin Kamara’s suspension was on full display against the Tennessee Titans. Running back Jamaal Williams was seemingly unable to hit any holes on the front line. He rushed for 18 carries and just 45 yards. However, Williams is partially not to blame. He was routinely met by a wall of Titans at the line of scrimmage. Kamara still has two games remaining on his suspension, and Williams will need a better push on the front line to make an impact in the running game. Perhaps the return of rookie Kendre Miller will create more outside running opportunities, but his status for week two is still unknown. The bottom line, there needs to be more production from Williams, the offensive line, and the entire running back room.

Three Interceptions

What does it mean: The interceptions forced by the New Orleans defense against Tennessee.

Why should I care:

The Saints defeated the Titans because of excellent cornerback and safety play - there’s no doubt about it. The team recorded three touchdowns against Ryan Tannehill which came through Paulson Adebo, Marshon Lattimore, and Marcus Maye. Last season, this defense struggled to force turnovers and only recorded seven interceptions for the entire year (3rd-worst NFL). If they can continue to force dangerous passes into tight windows, New Orleans could be the league’s best defense in 2023. Hopefully, Carolina rookie Bryce Young will follow Tannehill’s footsteps by making a few ill-advised passes and give New Orleans an easy turnover battle victory.


What does it mean: Bryce Young’s completion percentage against the Atlanta Falcons

Why should I care:

It’s easy to give grace to rookie quarterbacks, but Bryce Young clearly underperformed in his career opener. The Atlanta Falcons’ defense had its way with Young forcing two interceptions and a measly 53% completion rate (20/38). After New Orleans forced three interceptions from an experienced Ryan Tannehill, Young could have another rough outing in week two. Regardless of his inexperience, the Saints’ secondary has to remain diligent and try to avoid a scrambling masterclass from Young that we routinely saw at Alabama. They also need to pressure a questionable Carolina offensive line which failed to give Young any breathing room on Sunday.

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