The New Orleans Saints defense will face off against the Carolina Panthers number one overall pick from this year's NFL Draft, Bryce Young. In his NFL debut, Young experienced some expected growing pains, throwing two interceptions and completing just over half his passes. His receivers didn’t give him much help, combining for just eight catches on the afternoon.
With his first NFL game under his belt, I expect Young to be a little bit better on Monday, but he will be facing a much tougher matchup this Monday. The Saints’ secondary is among the best in the league and picked off veteran QB Ryan Tannehill three times on Sunday. Young will likely be much more cautious with the football this time around and I expect Carolina to dial up a lot of short and quick passes for him.
The Panthers receiving room includes Adam Theilen, Jonathan Mingo and Terrace Marshall as Young’s primary targets. They were unable to find much separation against the Falcons, and that ultimately led to their downfall. Young completed 20 passes, but he was only able to muster 146-yards on those completions. The Saints have much more depth in the secondary than the Falcons and I think they’ll be able to stay glued to the Panthers receivers all night.
The Panthers were able to run the ball effectively against the Falcons, rushing for 154-yards on 32 carried (4.8 average). Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard led the charge with 72 and 60-yards respectively.
The Saints’ defense was able to stifle Derrick Henry and the Titans run game in Week one, holding them to just 104-yards on the ground. The revamped defensive line for the Saints seems to be much better at stopping the run this year and they should be able to give Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard problems in this game. Not to mention, the Panthers are dealing with a couple injuries on their offensive line.
The Panthers line fared pretty well against the Falcons defensive front, allowing just two sacks on the day despite their injuries upfront. The Saints on the other hand got after Ryan Tannehill, sacking him three times and pressuring him on 13 drop backs. The Saints defensive front should be able to create pressure in Young’s face and force him into some bad throws or make him eat a few sacks.
Overall, the Saints defense is set up to have a big night against the Panthers. They’re still a few pieces away from building a formidable offense, and that ultimately could come to bite them on Monday. The Panthers showed their inability to score points against a Falcons defense that allowed the third most PPG last season. The Saints defense should be able to hold them to 14 or less points on Monday night, and as long as the offense can pick it up this week, the Saints should be 2-0 come Tuesday.
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