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Panthers Host Saints in Huge Week 16 NFC South Showdown

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Preview

Start Time: Sunday, December 22nd 2013 at 1:00pm ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
TV Station: Watch Live on the FOX Network

The New Orleans Saints 10-4 (7-6-1 ATS) are ahead of the Carolina Panthers 10-4 (8-5-1 ATS) in the NFC South because they have a better division record. The Saints are a perfect 4-0 in the NFC South while the Panthers are 3-1 after losing to NO in week 14 (31-13).

New Orleans has a chance to lock up the division with a road win this week, but it won’t be easy. Carolina is 6-1 at home with their lone loss coming against the Seahawks in week 1. The Saints are 3-4 on the road including a 27-16 loss last week against the Rams.

What Are the Betting Lines in the Saints vs. Panthers

The over/under has gone up a full point already, but we haven’t seen movement on the point spread. I was a little surprised that this game opened right on –3 in favor of the Panthers rather than –2.5 points, but they are one of the best home teams in the NFL. The odds above are from the Bovada Sportsbook.

Will the Saints Lock Up the Division

New Orleans has been fairly poor on the road this season. They have losses against the Rams, Seahawks, Jets and Patriots. They had a 2-0 record on the road to begin the season, but they’ve since gone 1-4 and two of those losses are against teams they should beat.

I’m going to discount last week’s loss against the Rams because it was a look-ahead situation last in the season. New Orleans didn’t need to beat the Rams, but if they want to win the NFC South they’ll most likely need to beat the Panthers in Carolina this week.

When you look at Carolina’s defense there isn’t really a weakness. They allow 14.9 PPG (2nd), 211.4 PYPG (5th) and 84.9 RYPG (2nd). In the last two games the defense has looked questionable though, as they allowed the Saints to score 31 and the Jets to score 20.

In the 1st game against the Panthers Drew Brees threw for 313 passing yards and 4 TD’s. Colston and Graham each had two TD’s on the day. The run game was held in check (69 rushing yards). If the Saints want to win this game they need Brees to have a big day.

Carolina on the other hand struggled in NO two weeks ago. They ended up gaining 288 total yards on offense while scoring 1 TD. It wasn’t a pretty game for the Panthers, but at home the offense has been much better than it has been when playing on the road.

Like in years past, the Panthers are a running team. They average 129.4 RYPG (8th) and 196.6 PYPG (28th). Being able to run the ball is important, but the fact that they don’t have a pass game has hindered their scoring ability and they only score 23.4 PPG (17th).

The Panthers gained 128 rushing yards in the 1st H2H meeting this season, but that isn’t too bad as long as you shutdown Newton in the pass game. New Orleans has been a bit dicey at stopping the run (116.4 RYPG – 21st), but their secondary is one of the best.

New Orleans gives up 196.4 PYPG (3rd), which has helped them keep opponents to just 19.3 PPG (5th). Turnovers will also be another important factor. In the 1st game this year neither team turned the football over, but Carolina outranks the Saints in TO margin.

On the season the Panthers have a +11 TO margin, which is amongst the best while the Saints are 0. Newton has 11 INT’s compared to Brees who has 10 INT’s, but the Panthers defense has forced more turnovers (28 vs. 23). Neither team can afford any turnovers.

Best Bets in NO @ CAR

Last year these two played in Carolina and the Panthers won (35-27). However, the Saints defense was horrible last year and now they’re one of the best under Rob Ryan. Both teams seemed to take last week off, so expect 100% from these division rivals.

At the end of the day I trust Brees and the Saints passing game to be too much for Carolina. Ryan will have his defense fired up after a poor outing against St. Louis. It’ll be a close game, but getting +3 points on the spread is too good to pass up on.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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