The New Orleans Saints host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in the team’s third (of four) game against a division opponent in a row.
The first half of the second half of the New Orleans Saints‘ 2019 season (confusing, right?) is completely against fellow NFC South teams. After playing just one division game in the first eight games, games nine through 12 are all against division foes.
So far, the Saints are through two of the division games and are 1-1. The team was shocked coming off the bye against the Atlanta Falcons, who played that game as if it was their Super Bowl, and then handily defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Division games are unpredictable and the same can be said heading into this Sunday. New Orleans hosts the best of the bunch, the Carolina Panthers, who have a 5-5 record on the season but present some dangerous matchups.
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First of all, the team has the best running back in the game in Christian McCaffrey to lean on as well as drain the clock. Second of all, the Panthers have a good defense that leads the league in sacks this. Getting to the quarterback against this stout Saints offensive line is the one way to beat New Orleans this year.
However, the Saints are still the better team in most areas (check out our complete roster breakdown to read why) so they are the favorites in this one. In fact, Las Vegas and co. don’t just think the Saints are favorites, they think they are heavy favorites.
According to the Action Network, the consensus betting line, mixed between several sportsbooks, is Saints -10. To put that in perspective, they are the second-highest favorites this week behind the Cleveland Browns, who are 10.5-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins.
Although the Saints are home, 10 points is a lot to give to a 5-5 team with a stout defense. Like their regular-season record, the Panthers are also 5-5 against the spread this year, while the Saints are 7-3.
Final score prediction: New Orleans Saints 26, Carolina Panthers 21
I think the Saints still get the job done behind a strong showing by Alvin Kamara, who will pick up a receiving touchdown and rushing touchdown in the game. I also think the defense will do its job and limit McCaffrey as much as they can and keep the Panthers at bay.
New Orleans will be leading the game for most of this one and with a 23-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Panthers will step up, get a touchdown and then the defense will step up and allow a field goal while the team trails 23-21.
The Panthers will get their chance to take the lead with around four minutes left and the Saints’ defense will stop them.
All the offense will need is one first down to ice the game and they will do just that. The New Orleans Saints will win a close game in a fashion similar to this, but will not cover the lofty 10-point spread.