Three Keys To Victory For The New Orleans Saints Against The Carolina Panthers

@Saints on Twitter

Three Keys To Victory For The New Orleans Saints Against The Carolina Panthers

Football

Three Keys To Victory For The New Orleans Saints Against The Carolina Panthers

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@Saints on Twitter

The New Orleans Saints travel to Charlotte on Sunday for a Week Three matchup with the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans will want to bounce back after last Sunday’s defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers are 0-2, and the Saints open as favorites, but divisional matchups are hard to predict. Here are three keys to victory for the Saints in this game. 

 

Turn Up The Heat

Through two weeks of play, the Saints are the worst team in pressure rate. New Orleans can not get after the quarterback, either through talent or scheme. Not only do the Saints rank bottom in pressure rate, but they also rank 30th in blitz rate. Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield is 32nd in total QBR through two games. When pressured, Mayfield’s career EPA is -0.62 and has a 25% completion percentage. The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants caused trouble for Mayfield in their games against Carolina. The Panthers’ offensive line is susceptible to pressure, but the Saints need to engineer a way to unsettle Mayfield. Can New Orleans move Shy Tuttle, Marcus Davenport, and Cam Jordan around to create mismatches? Is Dennis Allen willing to send a blitzing linebacker to confuse protection schemes? The Saints need to unlock their pass-rushing in this game. It is non-negotiable. 

Keep Jameis Winston Safe

Last Sunday, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that Jameis Winston had four fractures in his lower back. Winston then took another beating as the Buccaneers sacked him six times. The official Saints’ injury report listed Winston as questionable, and the quarterback has been limited in practice. The Panthers’ young defense is tough. They fly around the field and hit hard. There is an argument for Andy Dalton to start, but if the Saints start Winston, they must protect him. The ball needs to be released quickly, the run game must function, and Winston must be on red alert when Carolina sends pressure. After taking 10 sacks in two weeks, Winston can not afford to take any more punishment. 

 

Win Turnovers 

The Panthers are -3 in turnover differential. The trouble is, the Saints are also -3 in turnover differential. With Mayfield in charge, there will always be a chance for the Saints’ ball-hawking secondary. However, the Panthers may also get chances to win the ball back with an injured Winston playing quarterback. With both offenses struggling to invent explosive plays and push the ball downfield, turnovers and field position could well determine the result of this game. 

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