Carolina Panthers: Week 16 vs Saints- Round II (Repeat or Redemption)?

Well Carolina fans it boils down to this, win out and we are the NFC South champs. What a far cry this is from when we were a 1-3 team still in search of an identity. Now we are among the top teams in the league.

The New Orleans Saints come to the Queen City this week and Carolina has a chance to exact some revenge for the humiliating loss suffered in New Orleans. That game exposed some areas of concern for this Panthers defense. This week we have the opportunity to put those concerns to rest.

Carolina has been very successful at getting to the quarterback with just their front four lineman for most of this season. The Saints were able to nullify the Panthers pass rush, allowing Drew Brees time to dissect the Panthers secondary. This cannot happen on Sunday, pressuring Brees has to be the number one priority. We need the best game of the season to this point from our defensive line.

In the Superdome our secondary made the Saints receivers look like Pro Bowlers. It was discouraging to see how open the they were and the problem was compounded by the poor tackling that took place once the receivers caught the ball. Those some mistakes can’t happen again. The defense is going to have to take some chances and bring extra heat to get Brees out of his comfort zone in the pocket. This will put our defensive backs in a precarious position, having to cover man to man. Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott must not be afraid to take chances though. This Saints team is not the same on grass as it is on the fast surface they play on in the Superdome.

Carolina’s offense will have to do something it was not able to do until late in the game versus New Orleans two weeks ago. The offense will have to convert long drives into touchdowns. Having to settle for field goals will not be enough to win the game against New Orleans. Their team is much too talented to give any room to Brees and company. We saw how quickly things can go sideways when playing this caliber of team.

Running the ball and converting all opportunities (third downs, fourth downs, red zone and goal to go) will all be necessary in winning the time of possession battle. Keeping Brees on the sideline will negate the potency of this Saints offense. Carolina’s offensive line will have to block well in this game. In the first meeting, the Panthers offensive line did not do a good job of keeping Cam Newton comfortable in the pocket. The Saints defense harassed Cam and he was not able to get the offense into the endzone until it was too late.

The two most recent losses taken by the Saints have laid out a blueprint of what it will take to beat New Orleans. The Panthers coaching staff knows what it has with the talent on this Carolina team. There is no way we should have been embarrassed like we were in the Superdome, and this game will give the Panthers a chance for redemption. So what will it be Carolina, repeat of two weeks ago, or will it be redemption and the NFC South crown?

In the words of our very good friend Bigg Q, from @TeamBoydTV, 
just go get ‘em.

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