Though it is just Week 7, it’s never too early to consider playoff positioning and implications. With a key NFC South divisional showdown occurring this Sunday, you can bet both the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints will have that firmly on their minds.
Carolina has been a bit of a surprise so far this season, entering Week 7 with a 3-3 record. Though they lost Christian McCaffrey until likely Week 9, they’ve continued their excellent play. Mike Davis has filled in admirably, and new head coach Matt Rhule has his team believing in their abilities.
And while the Saints are a notch ahead of Carolina in the division at 3-2, that was what they were supposed to do. Despite some fading play from Drew Brees, and the absence of Michael Thomas – New Orleans remains a viable playoff threat going forward. Their defense has been getting the job done with regularity, and it should be fascinating to watch how they slow down the Panthers’ exciting attack.
With Tampa Bay currently sitting atop the NFC South, both the Saints and Panthers know the importance of this early-season encounter. They can’t lose pace in this competitive division, and as a result this should make for a must-see match-up. Read on beneath the posted odds for a full betting breakdown and prediction for this divisional showdown. Enjoy!
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers +6.5 (-110)
@ New Orleans Saints -6.5 (-110)
Over 50.5 (-110)
Under 50.5 (-110)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Pick:
While many have been quick to bury the Saints and the ageing Drew Brees, let’s not jump to conclusions yet. For starters, this is an offense that hasn’t really been healthy much this season. They’ll again be without star wideout Michael Thomas, a big loss, but not crushing. New Orleans has depth. Both Jared Cook and Tre’Quan Smith can, and will step up vs. Carolina, while Alvin Kamara continues to remain one of the game’s best at moving the chains. He’s a true dual threat and should be big in terms of pass catching on Sunday.
Carolina will try hard to apply all kinds of pressure to a slow-footed Drew Brees, but that likely is not going to be possible. The Panthers’ stop unit is banged-up, and now without Kawaan Short on the defensive line, they really don’t have anybody they could count on when it comes to rushing opposing QB’s. Carolina struggled last week vs. Chicago’s putrid offense, so the Saints should feast on this porous defense.
Whether or not the Panthers can outscore their defensive miscues is what this game will quite likely come down to. Carolina’s offense has been surprisingly effective this year, even without Christian McCaffrey for much of it. That said, the Saints defense too has been one of the better surprise units so far this campaign. New Orleans brings all kinds of pressure, and their defensive line should win the battle in the trenches and get to Teddy Bridgewater with regularity.
While the Saints are limited at the receiver position, their defensive play, combined with the skill of Alvin Kamara should completely dominate Carolina on Sunday. The Panthers have the more crucial injuries, and there’s still no way this defense can truly stop the smarts and vision of Brees and Payton. With the number now falling below a touchdown, the Saints are great value to cover the number at home in Week 7.