Week one of the NFL season didn’t provide the start that either the Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints had hoped for or that bettors expected. Both were beaten favorites in their season openers, with Carolina dropping a 16-10 decision to Tampa Bay as three-point road favorites and the Saint’s losing to the Washington Redskins 40-32 as an eight-point home favorite.
Those unexpected results makes this divisional game all the more important, but perhaps more so for the Panthers because of a couple reasons. First, this is a home game in the division for Carolina. Second, the Panthers have a difficult early part of the schedule and that upset loss to Tampa Bay last week leaves Cam Newton and company facing the real possibility of starting the season 0-4.
The early NFL odds for this game have the Saints listed as a 2.5-point road favorite with the over/under at 50.5.
There wasn’t much in the way of positives to take away from Carolina’s upset loss at Tampa Bay. The 10 points scored is the fewest the Panthers have scored in any game since the dawn of the Cam Newton era and it looks especially bad when you consider the Bucs’ surrendered an NFL-worse 494 points a season ago.
Newton did manage 302 yards through the air on 23-of-33 passing, but the real standout numbers were he threw a pair of especially bad interceptions and was sacked three times. Add to that the fact the Panthers could only muster 10 yards rushing and you can see there will be lots to do on the offensive side of the ball at practice this week.
New Orleans had no answer for quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense last week and they will be facing a very similar signal-caller this week in Newton. While that should give the Panthers at least some hope, the Saints’ appear simply the better team at this stage and we’ll look for them to bounce-back and cover as a road favorite.