When it comes to playing against the Saints, it doesn’t matter what the situation or scenario is, it’s always a great feeling to get a win over one of our fiercest rivals. Add to that the fact that this is a win or go home game, and this is without question Carolina’s biggest game so far this season.
The Panthers have suffered some heartbreaking losses in the Superdome in recent years, this is how they can avoid more pain and come away with a much needed victory this Sunday.
1. Give Proper Attention to Michael Thomas
Christian McCaffrey isn’t the only non-QB making a strong MVP case this season with Saints wide out Michael Thomas having an incredible season, staking his claim as one of the most dominant receivers in the game.
Thomas is on course for record breaking numbers, at this pace he will end the season with over 1,800 receiving yards and break the record for receptions in a season with 150.
Panthers corner James Bradberry has been able to hold his own in matchups against Thomas so far in his career, but don’t expect him to be working alone this week as Head Coach Ron Rivera should look to put as many men on him as it takes to slow him down.
2. Survive 3rd downs on Defense
Leading on from dealing with Thomas, Carolina will have to make sure everything else on Defense is sound when facing off against this New Orleans team.
Carolina come into this game ranked 22nd in Defensive 3rd down conversion percentage, contrast that with the Saints who rank 9th in Offensive 3rd down conversion and it’s clear to see that the Panthers must up their game in this area if they are to have any chance this weekend.
If the team is able to deal with Running Back Alvin Kamara and force Drew Brees into making tough throws after his struggles since returning from injury, the Panthers will give their Offense every chance to make a big statement.
3. NO TURNOVERS
This seems an obvious point to make after Kyle Allen’s performances in the last 2 weeks – a 2 turnovers game against Green Bay followed by 4 interceptions last week at home vs the Atlanta Falcons, a team that has struggled to create turnovers all season.
Extra emphasis should though, be put on taking care of the football this week as the Saints have the least turnovers in the league so far this year with just 6 giveaways in total.
On that evidence, it’s unlikely that the Panthers will be getting any freebies, so it’s up to Kyle Allen to take care of the ball and make smart decisions, so that Sean Payton’s offense isn’t getting any extra possessions this Sunday…