The New Orleans Saints (5-7) continue to be one of the most mind-boggling teams in the NFL this year. After losing 3 straight games at home, the team is coming off of a very important win for them against the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5). This comes at a very crucial time of the season considering the very next game is a divisional game between the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers (3-8-1).
Previous Game Actions
New Orleans has had a very interesting roller-coaster type of a season this year. They entered the 2014 season being as one of the Super Bowl favorites for the NFC. Even after their first loss in Atlanta, they were still favored, that is until the decline of the team started to show. Losing to the Cleveland Browns was something that almost no one saw happening this year yet happened due to the teams problem when it comes to closing out a winning game. Finally afterwards, the Saints played their first home game against the Minnesota Vikings (5-7) and showed their first win of the season. Even though it was only by 11 points with a score of 20-9, the win was looking hopeful for the season to come to hopefully fuel the fire for a currently struggling team, but alas, that was not the case. However, the pattern of winning at home and losing on the road did not continue for a long time afterwards. The Saints went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers at Carolina with what seemed a very defeated Cam Newton at the helm of the team. In this game, it seemed that both Drew Brees and Cam Newton wanted to be the same in every aspect in the first half of the game. On a drive that looked promising to score a touchdown, Brees threw a pass going for Kenny Stills in the Red Zone which ended up being deflected off of the defender and launching near 10 yards backwards into the hands of D. Edwards causing a very crucial turn over in attempt for points. On the very next drive of the Saints, Brees led the team 33 yards down the field before fumbling and turning the ball over yet again to the Carolina offense which seemed to have just as much difficulty scoring at very opportune times. Starting in the second corner, Cam Newton was intercepted in New Orleans territory by Corey White causing the team to not score at an important time in the game. On another drive heading towards the Saints side of the field, Newton fumbled the ball turning it over to the Saints on the Panthers 4 yard line which in turn allowed a very easy walk in touchdown for Mark Ingram. At this point in time, that was the first scoring drive and the Saints would close out the first half with a lead of 14-0. At the start of the second half, Carolina took their very first drive and ran it down the field for a touchdown in their favor but this would prove not enough as they would still fall to the New Orleans Saints in a total score of 28-10.
Upcoming Game Views / Thoughts
New Orleans has definitely not had as bad of a season as Carolina (the W-L ration doesn’t show that) in turns of how the losses have been presented. In the division, New Orleans is the only team with positive point standings when comparing Points For and Points Against. However, if the previous game is any indication of what the outcome will prove, the Saints have a very good chance of showing up in first place after this weekend comes to an end. On the end of Carolina, it just seems that they do not have the heart anymore to continue to fight for a playoff spot even though they are still not out of contention from taking the division just yet. Even though the NFC South is still showing to be the weakest division of this football season, Brees is still proving that he is an excellent quarterback and has proven that in the last game against the Steelers. Is that a performance that Brees can keep going even though it is against a division rival? Will Cam Newton continue to struggle or will he show sign of life to bring momentum to the Panthers? Both questions are valid at this point as the outcome is going to be very unknown until the game actually happens on Sunday in New Orleans with a very heavy weight on both teams shoulders depending on who wants the playoff spot more than the other.
For the game on Sunday, I do believe that we will see Cam Newton and the Panthers struggle as they been lately. Newton is still a young quarterback and with a team of rookies and injuries, there seems to not be much there for him to react with. With the team relying on their running back DeAngelo Williams and rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, there have not been many choices for the team to use as weapons. As for Drew Brees and the Saints, I believe with Brandin Cooks out for the rest of the season and Jimmy Graham playing the role of distraction for the most part, we could see the Saints get back on track by targeting the lot of the receiving core. Hopefully, Mark Ingram can perform with the explosiveness that he had shown in past games and control the ball more with a lot less fumbles under his belt.
I believe the Saints will take the win over Carolina with a score of 31 - 17 with 1 INT as well as Brees throwing 319 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Until Sunday and the clock strikes 0:00, we will await the outcome.