New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
The New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers close out their 2012 NFL seasons as they face off on Sunday in a NFL South battle in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Saints are -4 point favorites over the Panthers with an over/under point total set at 54.
The New Orleans Saints got off to a horrible start to the 2012 season and despite resolving and overcoming a lot of their off the field issues they never got to the right side of .500, With Sean Payton missing the entire season the Saints never got in sync and while they have a roster full of talent, they couldn’t translate it into enough wins to make it work. Drew Brees completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 39 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while being sacked 24 times. Mark Ingram averages 3.9 yards per carry with five touchdowns, Pierre Thomas averages 4.5 yards per carry, and Darren Sproles averages 5.4 yards per carry and he had 67 catches and six touchdown receptions. Marques Colston has 78 catches and eight touchdowns, Jimmy Graham has 76 catches and eight touchdowns, and Lance Moore has 61 catches and six touchdowns. Defensively the Saints allow 27.3 points per game, 139.2 rushing yards, and 294.9 passing yards with 14 interceptions and 29 sacks. Curtis Lofton has 118 tackles, Roman Harper has 109 tackles, and Malcolm Jenkins has 94 tackles. The Saints will get a high enough draft pick to help their team but with Payton back on the sidelines they should be a handful next year.
The Carolina Panthers are still a team in the building process and while they are competitive and made some strides over the past two years they still are looking for answers for how to close out games consistently. Cam Newton has completed 58.4 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for 707 yards and eight touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams is averaging 3.5 yards per carry with three touchdowns and Mike Tolbert has increased his contribution averaging 3.6 yards per carry with four touchdowns and catching 26 passes. Steve Smith has 70 catches for 1,101 yards and four touchdowns, Greg Olsen has 65 catches and five touchdowns, and Brandon LaFell has 39 catches and four touchdowns. Defensively Carolina has allowed 21.7 points, 113.2 rushing yards, and 212.7 passing yards with 10 interceptions and 37 sacks. Luke Keuchly has 151 tackles, Thomas Davis has 99 tackles, and Greg Hardy has 11 sacks. Carolina is still putting together the puzzle but it is clear they are just a few pieces away.
New Orleans is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games against the NFC South, 5-0 against the spread against a team with a losing record, and 16-5 against the spread in their last 21 home games. Carolina is 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games, 8-2 against the spread against a team with a losing record, and 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games against a team with a losing home record. The road team has covered in 17 of the last 22 meetings of these two.
This game should be about a pick but I can even see the Saints being favored by less than a fieldgoal but over a field goal the Panthers are the play here.
Carolina Panthers +4 New Orleans Saints