Gus Kattengell’s Saints Report: Panthers Game
The 3-1 New Orleans Saints take on the 1-3 Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday, but do not let Carolina’s record fool you. This week at Saints camp the team was very aware of the fact Carolina has the players to hand the Saints a loss.
The Saints are 4-4 against the Panthers during the Payton and Brees era, granted says QB Drew Brees some of those games came when starters sat out, but still it’s been a tough series between the two clubs.
I’m sure Saints fans are sick of hearing about Cam Newton this week. All I can say is get used to it, he’s a rookie and he’ll be in Carolina for a while, and frankly he deserves the praise he’s been getting. In three of his first four games he’s thrown for over 300 yards, a heck of a start for a veteran QB. Head coach Sean Payton on why he feels the Heisman winner has been able to have early success in the NFL.
Saints defensive tackle Sedric Ellis and the rest of the defensive line will play a key role Sunday. They have to contain Newton, who had two rushing TDs at Chicago last week, put pressure on him and as Ellis says realize the Panthers offense is more than just Cam Newton.
One of those players to keep an eye on is a familiar one to Saints fans. Steve Smith. This guy has been a Saints killer in the past and seems to always have at least one big catch and run or score against the Saints in games he plays. Saints Safety Roman Harper on the veteran receiver.
The Saints defense struggles in covering athletic pass catching tight ends. The Panthers use Greg Olson and Jeremy Shockey a lot. They Saints defense has had trouble stopping the passing game and top notch receivers. Steve Smith and Cam Newton have had a very good start to their seasons. Point is, Carolina will score. The edge here is the Saints offense. Last week was the first week QB Drew Brees had his full compliment of receivers this season in Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem. Darren Sproles is proving to be a huge off-season pick up. The running game is looking nicely, and let’s not forget about TE Jimmy Graham who caught ten passes last week.
I think this game is a close one, a back and forth battle of offenses, but in the end the Saints, with a little more experienced QB pull it out on the road. 34-31 thanks to long time former Panther kicker John Kasey, and a late field goal.
Kick-off from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC is high noon. Catch all the action here on 97.3 The Dawg starting with the pregame at 10am. Don’t forget the Point After with Bobby Hebert and the Big Chief.