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Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Pick.
New Orleans Saints (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (10-4 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date and Time: Sunday, December 22, 1:00pm
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: N.O. +3/CAR -3
Over/Under Total: 47
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This Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the NFC South will see its biggest game of the season take place when the New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers. The New Orleans Saints come into this game as three point road underdogs, while the total points are set at 47. Both of these teams come into this game at 10-4 overall and are tied for first place in the division. Officially, the Saints have the edge since they beat Carolina a couple of weeks ago, but a win by Carolina Sunday, and they are in sole possession of the NFC South top spot. Just two weeks ago, the Panthers went into New Orleans, and were spanked by the Saints by a score of 31-13. Drew Brees passed for over 300 yards and four touchdowns while Cam Newton only passed for a buck sixty and one scoring toss. The Saints played great, but that was in the dome…not in Charlotte. This weekend should be a different result, or at least a much more competitive game.
Carolina comes into this game as a three point favorite. They have won nine of their last ten games, but that one loss was the one we just discussed when they went into the Big Easy and lost to the Saints. Carolina is and has been the hottest team in all the NFC, and pretty much the entire NFL for the last two months, yet they still don’t get much respect. With the exception of the Seahawks, I don’t think there is a more balanced team in the conference, and that includes the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC last year. Carolina ranks 2nd against the run in all of the NFL and 5th against the pass. Their defense may be the best in the league, actually, I am going to say it….The Carolina Panthers have the best defense in the NFL. There, its out there. The only weakness, and I use that term loosely that the Panthers have is their passing game. They come in ranked 28th in the NFL, throwing for only 196 a game, but when you are racking up nearly 130 yards on the ground, you don’t need to be a top ten passing team. Carolina has one simple in order to win this game and eventually the NFC South. Stop Brees. Drew Brees had a field day against them last game, and that cannot happen again if the Panthers want to get some revenge. I like the Panthers team, I actually think they are poised for a possible deep playoff run, but that run must start this weekend in front of their home crowd.
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The Saints have owned the NFC South, or at least have been the most respected team in the division for the last five years or so. They are the only team to bring home a Lombardi Trophy in recent years, therefore they get the pub, and the respect. The Saints are masters of the passing game…both offensively and defensively. Drew Brees is on pace to crack the 5,000 yard mark on the season, and not only has he put up a ton of yards, he has thrown 34 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. While Brees and his wide outs and stud tight end are putting up the yards, the defense is shutting people down. The Saints defense is making life hard for opposing QBs, giving up less than 200 yards per contest through the air. However, with all that said, the way New Orleans can go into Charlotte and pull the “upset” is to shut down the run. If they make Cam throw the ball, this could be another 2 TD win for the Saints. Not saying that Cam Newton isn’t a good passer, but his passing success depends on the running game. I like this game to stay pretty close, mainly because of defense.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is a close one to call…too close. A team that has been the better team over the last five years, the odds on favorite to win the division, and the team who just won this very same matchup by almost 20 points two weeks ago is a three point underdog??? I am not sure how that logic makes sense, but that’s the case. Oh, and to make matters even more strange, 67% of the betting action is on the favorite. I don’t like that. This line just doesn’t make any sense. Yea, I took a whole paragraph talking about how great the Panthers were, and yes, I believe they are a good team…I just don’t think they are a “great” team. I like the Saints to come in and do enough to get a hard fought 24-20 victory over the Panthers on their way to the NFC South title. PICK THE SAINTS +3