After the New Orleans Saints were defeated by the Washington Redskins in week one at home they will look to bounce back in week two against the Carolina Panthers. The Saints will be playing on the road against the 0-1 Panthers so both teams will be hungry for a win.
This will be the second week in a row that the Saints will be facing a dual-threat, Heisman winning quarterback in Cam Newton. The Saints will be looking for a different result this week than last week.
It looks like Drew Brees and the Saints will be in another shootout only this time it will be against last season’s rookie of the year Newton and the Panthers. The Panthers also have a dynamic offense much like the Saints so this game should be a high scoring affair.
The game will probably come down to which team can execute on offense and prevent turnovers. In the Saints’ week one loss Brees surprisingly threw two interceptions and the turnovers really hurt the Saints. Newton also threw two interceptions in the Panthers week one loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton and the Panthers’ offense did not show up as they only put up 10 points in the loss to a divisional foe. There is a lot at stake for the Panthers in this week two matchup against the Saints. A loss would put the Panthers in a 0-2 hole against divisional opponents.
Furthermore, both the Saints and the Panthers will be looking for their first win of the season and both teams need a win in this young season.
Injury Report: Here is the injury report as of today September 15, 2012. Courtesy of NFL.com:
DE Turk McBride: Ankle, did not participate in practice, out.
CB Jabari Greer: Groin, full participation in practice, questionable.
LB Scott Shanle: Knee, full participation in practice, questionable.
WR Devery Henderson: Concussion, did not participate in practice, out.
CB Johnny Patrick: Thigh, did not participate in practice, out.
WR Steve Smith: Knee, limited participation in practice, questionable.
C Jeff Byers: Knee, full participation in practice, probable.
RB Jonathan Stewart: Ankle, limited participation in practice, questionable.
DE Greg Hardy: Illness, full participation in practice, probable
G Mike Pollak: Shoulder, did not participate in practice, doubtful.
LB Kenny Onatolu: Not injury related, did not participate in practice, probable.
Saints X Factor: I feel like the Saints X factor for every week will be the secondary. The Saints secondary is still banged up and they definitely showed their inexperience last week versus the Redskins. The Saints will need to get something from their secondary in order to slow down Newton and the Panthers offense. If the Saints secondary can produce some turnovers and stops they could give Brees and the offense a chance to outscore Newton and the Panthers.
Panthers X Factor: After failing to carry his team to victory in week one Newton will have to step up in week two and will be the Panthers X factor. Newton did throw for 303 yards on 23 off 33 completed passes but the two interceptions proved costly. Newton did throw a touchdown but the Panthers offense was virtually nonexistent. Newton will have to show why he is a dual-threat quarterback and if he can do a better job of facilitating the offense this week he might have a shot to win a shootout against Brees and the Saints.
How the Saints can win this game: The New Orleans Saints will win this game if their offense puts the points on the board and they limit their turnovers. However, the offense cannot just be about the passing game as they will have to establish their ground game too. Last week the Saints rushed for a mere 32 yards and that is not going to get it done. As great as Brees is he is going to need the ground game to bring some balance to the offense and take some pressure off of Brees. However, the Saints defense will need to be more of a factor this week and make it easier on the offense.
How the Panthers can win this game: The Panthers will win this game if Newton has an offensive explosion. However, it might be difficult if wide receiver Steve Smith is not available. Newton will have to dominate the passing game as well as the running game and he is very capable of attacking both ways. Furthermore, Newton should look to take advantage of the Saints thin secondary. Newton will have to have a bounce back performance and get the offense going, and he will have the home crowd behind him and should be pumped and ready to go.
Final Prediction: This game will be a huge game for both teams and it will come down to who can put more points on the board. Both teams’ defenses are not the greatest at the moment and this game will be a shootout. It might come down to which team’s defense can make key stops and let the offense operate. If the Saints don’t get anything from their secondary they could lose this game. However, the Saints are too good of a team and they have the Panthers’ number. I predict the Saints will win a close one with a final score of 35-27.