Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints: 2017 NFL Wild Card Playoffs

Drew Brees and the Saints plan on taking care of business against the Panthers today. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Drew Brees and the Saints plan on taking care of business against the Panthers today.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints
Sunday – January 7 – 3:40 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans – LA

The Carolina Panthers
Their Biggest Weapon: Cam Newton
It’s weird. The Panthers sold their top weapon this season to the Bills, after the Bills did the same, then Greg Olsen went down for most of the season, then Cam Newton kicked in and played strong. If they get that Cam Newton, the running and gunning Cam who is rushing for first downs, telling Clay Matthews that he’s about to score, then scoring. If the Panthers get that Cam, it could be a game.

Their Most Glaring Flaw: Cam Newton
However, if they get the “Clark Kent” Cam Newton, who’s down, and can’t complete passes because he’s rushing his actions and getting lazy with his footwork, it’ll be a boat race for the Saints. The Panthers need to get Cam involved early, get clever things going between him and Christian McCaffrey, if they can keep Cam Newton comfortable in the early stages of the game, they’ll have a chance. If things start to skew for the Saints, it could go bad quickly for the Panthers. Oh, and though the Panthers held fourteen opponents to under one hundred yards rushing this season, the two that got away were both meetings with the Saints.

The New Orleans Saints
Their Biggest Weapon: The Harnessed Drew Brees
If any person didn’t follow the Saints closely, as they silently railed off win after win after win, through the entire spine of the season, people would have figured that Drew Brees swam in that same fountain of youth that Tom Brady does morning laps in. However, once a magnifying glass rolled over their games, you’d be shocked at what was revealed. It’s a team that is carrying Drew Brees, and not because he can’t play, it’s actually because they are running the ball. That’s actually on the light side of description, they are swamping teams with their dynamic duo of running backs. It’s a full resurgence by Mark Ingram. He usually has these crusher games, the game after he has a fumble-filled outing. No longer the case. It’s that he’s got a running mate. Alvin Kamara, though he apparently wasn’t good enough to start at Tennessee, he’s good enough to basically make every opposing defense look like a cheat code has been activated. Kamara shucks off tackles as if he’s buttered. Brees has just been afforded a drink from the grail, a killer double backfield. Brees is seemingly rested from not being over-exposed this season and having a sheltered Drew Brees is the biggest “wild card” in the NFC playoffs. Until two seasons from now, when Brees has Kamara traded away from him. Because they’re the New Orleans Saints.

Their Most Glaring Flaw: I kind of don’t know…
They have Brees. A dynamic duo of running backs. A troop of solid pass catchers. And a defense that actually is not to be trifled with. Cam Jordan is a destroyer, Manti Te’o has become a pretty solid middle linebacker, and they might have the defensive rookie of the year in cornerback Marshon Lattimore. They are a formidable group on defense. I don’t see too many faults in this team going into the playoffs. They have Sean Payton. Maybe they a shaky kicker? I don’t know. I really don’t feel that the Saints are going to struggle in this game.

It’s going to start strong for both, then it’s going to slip away from the Panthers, like Kamara through the secondary.

Final Score
New Orleans 38 – Carolina 16