Jeremy and Jeff both split last Thursday night's game between the Broncos and Chargers. Jeremy hit the over, but fell short with the Chargers. Jeff won with the Broncos, but lost with his under selection. Tonight's game features the Saints visiting the Panthers in an NFC South matchup. The Saints currently sit at 3-4, and the Panthers at 3-4-1. The winner of this game will take the lead in the very disappointing NFC South. Can the Saints build off of their solid win against the Packers? Will the Panthers bounce back after losing a close game to the Seahawks? Let's get to the picks for tonight's game.
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New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers
Total Points: 49
Jeff: The Saints travel to Carolina as they look to get to .500 and take over 1st place in the NFC South. The Saints are coming off a much-needed win at home against the Packers. The Panthers gave up a late touchdown which was the difference as they fell to the Seahawks 13-9. The Saints will look to get their first road win on the season as they have dropped their first four games away from home. This line opened at 1.5 and has gone up to 3 with the public siding with the Saints. I think the value here is on the Panthers as they'll bounce back and get the win. I simply don't trust this Saints team on the road. Look for QB Cam Newton to have a solid game here as he will have success throwing the football against a defense that gives up 289 yards/game through the air which is ranked dead last in the NFL. They are also giving up nearly 27 points a game. TE Greg Olsen and WR Kelvin Benjamin will be targeted heavily in this matchup as I expect them both to get in the end zone tonight. RB DeAngelo Williams returns tonight which will give a boost to the Panthers running game. The Panthers defense will have their work cut out for them as they face QB Drew Brees and the very explosive Saints offense. I think the Panthers defense will come up with a key stop late in the game which will seal the victory. As for the total, look for this game to be high scoring as I expect both offenses to move the ball effectively and put points on the board.
Pick: Panthers +3
Total points: Over 49
Jeremy: Four Days after a convincing win over the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in a game that will determine first place in the NFC South. The Panthers are coming off a home loss to Seattle in which they only scored nine points and have now lost two in a row, scoring just 26 points total in those games. Cam Newton continues to be a threat with both his legs and his arm as he is completing 60% of his passes and has rushed for 214 yards. Newton’s primary receiving targets, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, have both caught five TD passes and have over 500 yards receiving on the year. They should find success against the 31st ranked pass defense that is giving up almost 290 yards passing per game. Offense continues to be the strength for the Saints who have yet to win two games in a row this season. They are averaging 28 PTS/G and TE Jimmy Graham appears to be regaining his form after battling a shoulder injury for the past couple games. Rookie WR Brandin Cooks is coming off the best game of his career after a six catch 94 yard performance in which he also caught his second touchdown pass. He is developing into a solid option for Brees along with Graham and fellow WR Marques Colston. It looks like Mark Ingram will again be the lead running back as Pierre Thomas has been ruled out and Khiry Robinson is questionable with a forearm injury. Ingram had a monster game against the Packers rushing 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown. With the Panthers ranking 28th in run defense, Ingram will have another solid game and should eclipse the 100 yard mark again. The posted total of 49 seems a bit high to me given the Panthers recent struggles on offense combined with the fact that the Saints don’t perform at as high a level on the road as they do at home. With the Saints getting contributions from players like Cooks and Ingram, along with the fact that Brees now has a healthy Graham in his arsenal I like the Saints to win this game by a touchdown at least.
Pick: Saints -3
Total points: Under 49