The New Orleans Saints lost for the second straight week and are now 0-2 on the 2012 season. Quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers bounced back from their own week one loss and defeated the Saints with a final score of 35-27.
Coincidentally I predicted the game would end with a final score of 35-27. However, I predicted the Saints would be on the winning end of the outcome but that was not the case this week.
If I was a betting man I would have came very close to winning, but all I had to do was switch teams. However, if I had to bet on anything I would bet that the Saints are missing their beloved leader, head coach Sean Payton.
Payton is currently serving his season long suspension for his involvement in the Saints’ alleged bounty scandal. Payton had been a steady rock for the Saints organization and with two close losses to start the season it is evident that the Saints are missing him.
The Saints looked a little better in this game as the running game exploded with 163 yards, 110 of those yards coming from Pierre Thomas. Unfortunately for the Saints the Panthers’ running game was also on point as they literally ran over the Saints with 219 rushing yards. The Saints’ offense did a good job of putting points on the board, but for the second week in a row they were just not able to outscore their opponent.
The Saints’ defense was yet again suspect as the secondary failed to make any big plays and the front seven did not fare any better. The Saints’ defensive line gave up 71 yards of rushing to Newton and this was a career high for the second year quarterback.
I have to imagine that if Payton was still coaching he might be able to rally the troops and get them over the hump. The Saints lost this game and last week’s game by only eight points each and I think Payton and Drew Brees would be able to draw something up to give the Saints a chance to tie the game or win it.
Brees might be missing Payton the most because it is very uncharacteristic of him to already have four interceptions in this young season. On the season Brees has thrown four touchdowns for 664 yards to go along with his four interceptions.
Brees is still putting up high volume passing numbers but he is not nearly as efficient as he usually is. It is obvious that Brees has to work harder with Payton not around. Brees is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL but so far he has only managed a 54.5 percent completion rate to go along with his 71.6 quarterback rating. Furthermore, both numbers are career lows for Brees.
The season is still just starting out but you have to wonder where the Saints’ heads are after back-to-back close losses. Furthermore, would the Saints be 2-0 if Payton was not suspended? We can speculate all we want but the reality is that Payton is not here and the Saints are in a 0-2 hole to start the season.
The Saints are going to need to get out of this “funk” and find some continuity with their team. The Saints will host the Kansas City Chiefs next week Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 1 p.m. eastern time.
The Chiefs are 0-2 like the Saints and both teams will be looking for their first win of the season. The Saints need to prove to everyone that they are still a legitimate contender. Starting out 0-2 is not great but it is not a death sentence either, and while some may be concerned with the Saints no one should be counting them out.
The Saints are missing Payton and no doubt this season will continue to be difficult for them, but I know they will pull through and get things going this season.
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