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Sunday’s NFL-2nd SET play & write-up.

Sunday’s NFL-2nd SET play & write-up.



*SUNDAY’S PLAYS (12-03):

{NFL-2nd SET}




#370 New Orleans Saints -5 (3*) (EZ 31-21 Winner!) ……Note: A perfectly handicapped game with total all-around dominance by the Saints again. To bad they all don’t follow suit and come this easy. 


The Saints are coming off their first loss after winning 8 straight games. Their first order of business is correcting what went wrong and getting back to their winning ways. Today, they face Carolina so this is a critical battle for first place in the NFC South…with the victor possibly winning the division. The Saints have dominated the recent series vs the Panthers and I see no reason why they can’t do what they did to them back in Week 3 at Carolina.

In fact, below is a list of 5 reasons why the Saints will be able to notch their 6th straight win and cover over the Panthers after this game is done.

FIRST REASON – The Panthers offense is depleted of key receiving weapons for their passing attack. The Panthers will be without possibly 3 key players who are/were vital to QB Newton and the Panthers passing attack. First, they loss a big part of their air attack by trading away WR Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo. Replacing Benjamin was supposed to be WR Curtis Samuel, but he just got hurt and is on IR. And now, it was just reported that veteran TE Greg Olsen, who just came off of IR… reaggravated his foot injury in their last game vs the Jets and is not expected to play in today’s NFC South showdown against the New Orleans Saints due to soreness.

That is 3 big key weapons that QB Newton depends on to receive his passes. Now he will be forced to use backup WR Devin Funchess, which he has done, even more. However, the Saints’ defensive coaches are very much aware of who is no longer a threat and who Newton will most likely be dependent on now in passing situations. Seems to me, that QB Newton’s lack of weapons just made him a lot more predictable, especially on passing downs.

Side Note: The Saints defense already picked Newton off 3 times in the first game back in September.

SECOND REASON – Because of Carolina’s lack of receiving weapons, I am expecting the Panthers to resort to using their ground attack a lot more today. The Saints run defense is currently ranked 17th in the league, allowing 112 yards rushing per game with just 6 TDs given up.

The Panthers main RBs in Stewart and McCaffery won’t scare the Saints defense, especially with their mediocre per rush average. RB Stewart has rushed for a total of 486 yards at just 3.2 ypr…while rookie RB McCaffery has totaled just 268 rushing yards at 3.5 ypr average. (RB Stewart also has the 2nd most fumbles in the league with 3 so far…McCaffery has 1)  

Side Note: In the first game vs the Panthers in Week 3…the Saints defense held RB Stewart to 57 yards on 12 carries…RB McCaffrey to 16 yards on 4 carries. And QB Newton was held to 16 yards on 3 carries. Only Newton scored a TD run in that games.   

THIRD REASON – The Saints’ this season have a balance attack with a lot more weapons. One of the reasons for the Saints success this season is the emergence of their running game, led by RB Ingram and Kamara. Ingram so far has rushed for 837 yards at 5.0 ypr, while Kamara has rushed for 545 yards at a solid 7.1 ypr average. But, they also have provided QB Brees with two more passing targets out of the backfield, as Ingram recorded 218 receiving yards so far…while Kamara has recorded 548.

A balanced attack is why the Saints have found early success this season and also why QB Brees is having one of his best season stat wise as well.

FOURTH REASON – The Saints solid ground attack led by RBs Ingram and a rookie RB Kamara. The Saints this season have the luxury of now using either the run or the pass to open their offense up even more. Being balanced on offense has always been sought, but never seemed to have ever materialized enough to where they could be operating at full potential. This season though, with the addition of rookie RB Kamara, the Saints and QB Brees have been ranking near or at the top of several major offensive categories and it is all due to their newly potent balanced attack.  

QB Brees has benefitted the most from their solid rush attack, as it is the reason that at his age, he is currently completing 71.3% of his passes, which ranks 1st in the NFL and a career best for him. It is also why he has a sack % of 3.4, which is #3 in the NFL and best since 2008.

Side Note: The Saints run attack is currently ranked 3rd in the NFL, above both Dallas and Carolina, averaging 142.1 yards rushing per game. They also are ranked 1st in the NFL in yards per carry at 4.9 and has scored the most rushing TDs with 16 as well. 

FIFTH REASON – The Saints have slowly gotten back their injured players, some returning in last week’s game. But, two of their solid starting CBs in Ken Crawley and Marshon Lattimore was out last week due to injuries. Because of their absence, the Rams simply picked on their replacements with QB Goff throwing for 354 yards in that game.  

I figure, that everyone would now do the same when they face New Orleans. But for Carolina that might be hard to take full advantage of as they will be without 3 of their top receivers. And second, because it has been reported that both Crawley and Lattimore were at practice and will most likely be playing in this important divisional game today.

*Bottom Line:

Cam Newton has far less weapons than Brees to use, especially with TE Greg Olsen getting reinjured again. Newton in this game, could have been aided if the Saints still were missing their starting cornerbacks, Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, but that is not the case anymore. Now he has to instead worry about them picking off one or several of his passes, like the Saints defense did in the first game they played.

Furthermore, I am tired of hearing excuses of why the Panthers loss in Week 3 to the Saints…or that Cam was still rusty due to offseason surgery, etc…I bet, due to the Saints 8 game winning streak, that many forgot that the Saints entered that week 3 game at Carolina, coming off of two straight losses to open the season and that Carolina had the league’s #1 defense as well. Still, that didn’t prevent Brees and company from crushing the Panthers in their house, holding Newton to just 167 yards passing, sacking him 4 times and picking his turnover prone ass off 3 times in that 34-13 road win.

What people seem to also forget is the fact that, regardless of Newton antics which screams “attention whore,” the Saints have dominated this series of late, winning the last 5 meetings vs them. So just because the Panthers and Newton want to seek revenge for Week 3’s poor showing, all I have to say is they failed getting it in their previous 4 losses to the New Orleans. So what else is new?…The Saints dominated then and I see them dominating again in today’s game as well…….GO SAINTS! 

*Stats & Trends:

-Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. the NFC South.

-Saints are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. the NFC.

-Saints are 7-1 ATS in Dec off a SU non-division loss vs foe off a pair (or more) of SU wins.

-Saints are 5-0 SU & ATS the last 5 games vs the Panthers, including a 34-13 road blowout of Carolina as a 5 pt. road dog in Week 3.




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