Five Reasons the Saints Will Beat the Carolina Panthers
This week the New Orleans Saints face their first divisional opponent of the season heading to North Carolina to face the Panthers. Sitting at 0-2, it's a difficult time to be an optimistic Saints fan but have no fear that's why I'm here! I will be your light in a time of darkness to provide you a positive spin on this team, with five reason why the Saints will be victorious this weekend.
If you want a less positive spin and maybe a more realistic view on this weekends game check out Steve Peloquin's article on the five reasons why the Saints will lose this weekend.
With that said, kickoff is scheduled for noon and lets get into the positive facets of this game for the Saints.
1). Panthers TE, Greg Olsen is OUT:
The Carolina Panthers Pro-Bowl tight end broke his foot in last weekends game against the Bills in a barn burning, 9-3 victory. Cam Newton not having one of his most reliable weapons to utilize will definitely hurt this offense. Furthermore, it'll take some stress off an injury plagued secondary who had some troubles with the New England tight end last week in Rob Gronkowski, before he got hurt. In his career against the Saints, Olsen has averaged seven targets and five receptions on a per game average, and over his last four games against them he's recorded three games of 90+ receiving yards. Not having to cover him will be a big boost to the Saints and their beleaguered secondary.
2). A.J. Klein Against his old Team:
Motivation is a huge driving force in sports and maybe none bigger than facing your old team. Well, for Saints first year linebacker A.J. Klein he'll have his first shot at the team he was drafted by in the 5th round during the 2013 NFL Draft. Klein had spent the majority of his first four years in the league playing behind two of the most talented linebackers in the game, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. He started sparingly in Carolina, filling in when his mentors were bit by the injury bug but he gained valuable experience playing behind those two studs. Right now, he's feeling out his role with the Saints, starting every week and becoming a leader of the defense. I expect we'll see an extremely motivated Klein in this one, not only because it's against his old friends but for all the talk about how poor this defense is performing at the moment. If he wants a stage to show what he can really do and the Saints want to win this game, this could be A.J. Klein's "welcoming party" to the Saints.
3). Cam Newton off his Game:
The 2015 MVP Cam Newton is seeming more and more like a blip on his career radar than the norm that many thought he was headed for after he himself claimed that he was revolutionizing the game and the position of QB. We haven't seen much of that guy since he was knocked around in the 2015 Super Bowl loss to the Broncos. He's started out this season slow, if that trend continues and the Saints can get a little bit of pressure on him, there's a good chance the offense will sputter.
4). The Makeshift Offensive Line:
It seems like when Drew Brees goes, the Saints go. That starts with keeping him clean inside the pocket and having the makeshift offensive line, with a couple of youngsters starting, holding up against the Panthers pass rushers. Andrus Peat and David Ramczyk haven't gotten off to the type of starts that they would have hoped for, they've been pretty average at best the first two weeks. However, if the Saints want to win and be successful this weekend they'll need to be strong and allow Drew Brees time to find receivers.
5). Ted Ginn Jr. and Special Teams:
The offense has sputtered during the 0-2 start for the Saints, the once high flying passing attack just hasn't gotten off the ground, and playing from behind hasn't allowed for the running game to get rolling. I believe if the Saints want to be successful in this game they're going to have to get a boost from their special teams unit. If you're looking for a special team boost, who better to get it from than another former Panther, Ted Ginn Jr. In his career Ginn has returned seven kick/punt returns to the house for touchdowns. The Saints may not need a touchdown, however it would be beneficial, they at least need some splash plays from him in the return game. I'm talking about at the very least putting this team in better field position and putting his old defensive teammates in a bad spot defending a short field. Oh yeah, there's also that whole motivation factor facing his old team in their building that may give him an extra boost to make a big play or two on Sunday.