On the Line--NFC South Division Championship

Two 10-4 juggernauts meet Sunday at Bank of America Stadium to decide the NFC South division champion.  The Carolina Panthers host the New Orlean Saints in what looks to be a match between two titans.  The high powered Saints’ offense will try to take their game outdoors and topple Carolina’s league leading defense.  There is clearly a lot On the Line for both teams.  The winner of this game will most likely become the #2 playoff seed, winning both a bye and home playoff game.  This is like having an NFC South Championship game.  

Although New Orleans soundly defeated Carolina two weeks ago, the betting lines indicate that it will a close one.  Currently, the Panthers are -3 point favorites with several oddsmakers.  Keep reading because our bets are ALL IN!

All Bets In:

Tony’s Bet: Carolina Giving -3 points
Traditionally, Vegas allots 3 points for home field advantage--making this game a pick’em. Carolina’s odds advantage may derive from more than just the home field, however.  Oddsmakers appear suspicious of the beat-down New Orleans put on Carolina two weeks ago.  The divisional and playoff stakes look to weigh heavily on this betting line. The Saints have struggled mightily on the road this season, exemplified by their two recent road embarrassments in Seattle and St. Louis.  Both were in domes, so it appears to be less of a home field thing and more of a on the road thing.  New Orleans will be venturing into a den filled with wounded Panthers with their backs to the wall.  Brees will simply not be as safe as he was in New Orleans.

This close line also suggests that both teams will come to play.  I’m guessing that it will come down to each team’s weaknesses, rather than their strengths.  The Panthers defense will hope to recover a little dignity and the Saints offense will do its best to package a road victory.  This game’s storyline will be about the Panthers offense and the Saints defense.  The Panthers offense has been on the brink of breaking out several times this season and the Saints defense, while much improved under Rob Ryan, can be broken.  Look for Cam to have a breakout game behind a powerful running attack led by Deangelo Williams.  We need LaFell to play bigger and Ginn to catch a deep ball.  Mike Shula will open this offense up and make sure that we get this victory!

Carolina’s offense will win this one putting up over 30 points.  (31-26 Panthers)

Joe’s Bet: Carolina Giving -3 points

The game of the day Sunday will take place early as the Saints come marching into Bank of America Stadium. This game is a rematch of one which took place two weeks ago. In that contest the Saints outplayed the Panthers on a grand scale--but that game was played where the Saints are almost unbeatable, the Mercedes Benz Superdome. This Saints team is completely different when they travel away from the comfortable fast track of their home turf. The Saints away record this season makes this clear. The Saints are 3-4 on the road, and their 3 wins are by a combined 14 points.

The Panthers have only one loss at home this year, which came in week 1 against the Seahawks.  Even this was a game Carolina could/should have won (late 4th quarter fumble on the Seattle 8 yard line cost the Panthers the game).  

On Sunday in this game the Panthers need to lay it all On the Line.

Panthers are 3 point favorites, which translates to both teams being even and Carolina is only favored because they are the home team. I beg to differ. Yes the Saints blew the doors off Carolina two weeks ago, but the Panthers are looking for payback. I have a feeling this game will not be as close as many think. I believe Carolina wants this division title and they know the first step will be winning this game versus the Saints.

Panthers win this game, 31-13.