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Panthers vs. Saints in Pivotal Week 14 NFC South Match-Up

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Preview

Kick-Off: Sunday, December 8th 2013 at 8:30pm ET
Stadium: Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
Network: Watch on NBC

The winner of this game will take over the lead in the NFC South division race with only a few weeks left in the regular season. This is going to be the first H2H meeting this season between the Carolina Panthers 9-3 (8-4 ATS) and New Orleans Saints 9-3 (6-5-1 ATS).

Both teams are 3-0 in the NFC South this year, but that’ll have to change. Carolina comes into this game as winners of their last eight games, making them the hottest team in the NFL. The Saints snapped their 3-game winning streak in a loss to Seattle in week 13.

New Orleans Opens Up As Small Home Favorite Against Carolina

The sportsbooks opened the point spread up at –3 to –3.5 points although it has settled at –3 at most shops now. Carolina has a 4-2 record on the road and they’ve won their last four away games, but the Saints are an even more impressive 6-0 at the Superdome. Bet on this game at Bovada.

Who Will Emerge Atop the NFC South

You couldn’t ask for a better match-up on Sunday night this weekend. The Saints have one of the best home field advantages in the league while the Panthers have been unstoppable the past few months. Now we get to watch these rivals clash in New Orleans.

Seattle held the Saints to 7 points last week in a blow out win (34-7). Drew Brees was held to 147 passing yards and 1 TD on 23 of 38 passing. New Orleans averages 302.8 PYPG (3rd), but if you can shutdown Brees you’re going to beat this team more often than not.

Carolina is only allowing teams to throw the football for 209.6 PYPG (6th) although the secondary has been weaker lately. Two weeks ago in their last road game against the Dolphins the Panthers allows Ryan Tannehill to throw for over 300 passing yards.

The key to victory for Carolina is to get the run game going, as they’re rushing for 129.3 RYPG (9th). DeAngelo Williams never played last week, but he’s expected to be back in the line-up. The Saints allow 113.2 RYPG (16th) and will have trouble with the power run.

I don’t expect the Saints to find much running room. They struggled last week against the Seahawks defense and the Panthers are amongst the best at stopping the run (80.2 RYPG – 2nd). The Saints only average 93.2 RYPG (23rd) and they won’t surpass that.

Player to Watch on the Panthers

Cam Newton is still a huge threat on the ground and he even leads the team in rushing touchdowns (6). The problem is that Newton hasn’t done as well through the air. He has thrown 11 interceptions (3% of hiss pass attempts) compared to only 19 TD passes.

Newton only has an 88.1 QBR coming into this game. If Carolina wants to win Newton has to be able to pick up big yardage on a few plays in this game. Drives can’t stall on 3rd and manageable because if they keep the Saints in the game Brees is always lethal.

Player to Watch on the Saints

Last week Thomas was held to 0 rushing yards on 4 carries and 21 receiving yards on 4 catches. The Saints have depth at RB, but it’s important to understand how vital Thomas is to the offense. Thomas leads the team in rushing and is 2nd on the team in receptions.

Saints vs. Panthers Predictions

The last four games in this series have gone over the total and the lowest over/under was 51 points. This season the Saints are giving up 19.2 PPG (6th) while the Panthers only allow 13.1 PPG (1st) and that’s why I feel like we’re getting some value on the over.

I think it’s too difficult to predict who will win this game. The Saints rarely ever loss at home while the Panthers are one of the best winning streaks we’ve seen in a long time. If I had to pick I would lean towards taking the +3 points on Carolina, but it’s too close.

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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