NFL picks and predictions, Panthers vs. Saints 2014: Clean sweep for New Orleans

The experts don’t see Carolina walking away from the Superdome with a win.

The Carolina Panthers are on a seven-game winless streak, yet they haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention in a subpar NFC South. However, they still face a steep challenge when they visit the division rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

After winning the NFC South just a season earlier, Carolina has regressed badly in 2014. The offense has been decimated by offseason losses, including wideout Steve Smith (now with the Baltimore Ravens) and left tackle Jordan Gross (retirement), while nearly every running back on the roster has missed time to injury. The lack of support has impacted Cam Newton’s performance to the point where head coach Ron Rivera had to give a public vote of confidence to the quarterback earlier this week. A win in New Orleans wouldn’t save their season, but it would quiet some of the Panthers’ critics for at least a week.

The Saints, meanwhile, were invigorated last week in a surprise road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Drew Brees threw five touchdowns and zero picks, his first such game since October of last year. Still, New Orleans’ defense remains one of the league’s worst, yielding 32 points to an average Pittsburgh offense. The Panthers don’t have much going on offense either, but they might find a way to exploit defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s porous unit.

The experts are all in on the Saints this week. The entirety of ESPN’s 13-man panel as well as everyone at CBS Sports sided with New Orleans over the struggling Panthers.

CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco had this to say about the game:

The Saints lost their last three home games, but that won’t happen here. The Panthers are playing consecutive road games and they are struggling. Look for the Saints to get it cranked up in a big way and blow them out in a big division game.

It’s a unanimous choice here at SB Nation too, with all of our experts picking the home team:

Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Joel Thorman David Fucillo Danny Kelly PFT Commenter Matt Ufford OddsShark Computer
December 5, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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