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Ups and downs from Saints vs. Panthers

Which players are on the rise and what are the biggest holes?

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 20-17 on Monday Night Football. Derek Carr and the offense started off slow for the second consecutive week, bringing up a lot of questions on how much the team could succeed this season.

UP: Marshon Lattimore

The only word that comes to mind when talking about cornerback Marshon Lattimore is dominant. Lattimore only allowed nine receiving yards last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and continued his dominance against the Carolina Panthers on Monday, allowing only six receiving yards. The former All-Pro was widely considered team MVP coming out of training camp and that title stands true through the first two weeks of the regular season. With how the Saints’ offense has been lackluster so far, Lattimore and the defense make up for it, being a big reason why the Saints are 2-0.

UP: Michael Thomas

Through two weeks, quarterback Derek Carr has relied heavily on wide receiver Michael Thomas to start the game. Thomas has been a ball magnet catching 12 passes in the first two games of the season. With Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed both succeeding in their own right, Michael Thomas gets the opportunity to be 1-on-1 with opposing defensive backs, which so far through the season has been a mismatch for the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year.

DOWN: Derek Carr and the offense

Quarterback Derek Carr has come up in the clutch moments, but those moments shouldn't have to be clutch. The Saints’ defense has only allowed one touchdown in the first two games of the season, yet the offense is failing to do its job, outscoring opponents by only four points. The offensive line hasn't been giving Carr much time, often collapsing from the left side, and Carr has thrown two interceptions that were both terrible decisions. The coaches have made the second-half adjustments in both games and the offense starts to roll, but the team has too much talent and weapons on the offensive side of the ball for the output they are presenting.

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