The soonest the Saints can clinch a playoff berth is Sunday when they roll into the Panthers’ lair, who they beat to gain the top spot in the NFC South just a couple weeks ago. It figures to be difficult task, as the Panthers haven’t lost at home since Week 3.
When: 1:00 PM ET, December 22, 2013 [sc:NFL240banner ]
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
*As of December 17.
Money: Saints (+145) vs. Panthers (-165)
Spread: Saints (+3) vs. Panthers (-3)
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers|
|Last Game||vs. St. Louis Rams (L 16-27)||vs. New York Jets (W 30-20)|
|Player to Watch||QB Drew Brees (Threw for 313 yards and 4 TDs in first meeting vs. Panthers)||QB Cam Newton (3,049 Passing Yards, Leads Panthers in Rushing TDs with 6)|
Betting on the New Orleans Saints:
The Saints continue to flounder on the road. Their latest defeat away from the Superdome cost them a sure seat in the playoffs, when they lost to a going-nowhere St. Louis squad, 16-27.
Drew Brees had an uncharacteristic performance in that game, throwing two picks. He had not passed an interception in three games prior, but the Rams’ defense somehow found a way to make the Super Bowl winning QB look beatable. Aside from that, Brees passed for 393 on 30-of-42 for one TD.
Saints fans hope that Brees will provide the same sparkling game he had against the Panthers in Week 14 on Sunday. He threw for 313 yards and 4 touchdowns in their previous meeting. Another player who is poised to bounce back is tight end Jimmy Graham, who only had 41 receiving yards after catching just 6 of 12 passes.
With New Orleans’ loss to St. Louis and Carolina’s win over the New York Jets, the Saints are again in the same position they were in Week 14: they need a win over the Panthers to annex the solo lead in the division.
New Orleans is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games against the Panthers.
Betting on the Carolina Panthers:
One can only imagine how ecstatic the Panthers were when they learned that the Saints fell to St. Louis last week. They did their own work by beating the New York Jets, 30-20, to once again catch the Saints at the top of the NFC South. [sc:NFL240banner ]
However, the Saints still own the tiebreaker having beaten Carolina in Week 14. So for Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers, revenge will be best served Sunday with the visiting Saints acting as their prey.
Beat New Orleans and they snatch first place in the division for the first time this season. They could keep it for good if they can breeze through their last game of the regular season – a virtual gimme against the Falcons.
Carolina has been nearly unbeatable at home this season. The Panthers are 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS at Charlotte.
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