NFL Football: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 19, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1 p.m. ET, Sept. 19, 2021
Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Saints -3.5; O/U 44; Saints -210, Panthers +175
BetMGM: Saints -3.5; O/U 44.5; Saints -200, Panthers +175
Caesars: Saints -3.5; O/U 44; Saints -200, Panthers +170

Season record
Saints: 1-0
Panthers: 1-0

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Saints - Panthers preview and analysis


Recent form
Saints: won 38-3 vs. Packers on Sept. 11 (game played in Jacksonville due to weather)
Panthers: won 19-14 vs. Jets on Sept. 11

If you told someone five years ago that a Week 2 matchup in 2021 between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints wouldn’t feature Drew Brees or Cam Newton, they’d try to take your money.

You might be robbed for more if you were told the quarterbacks would be Jameis Winston and Sam Darnold.

But this new era of the Panthers and Saints will meet in a NFC South rivalry meeting on Sunday in Charlotte, where both teams will look to move to 2-0 on the short campaign.

The Panthers are coming off a 19-14 victory over the New York Jets in Darnold’s debut. Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft, was traded by the Jets in the offseason as New York moved forward with No. 2 pick in 2021, Zach Wilson, as their new quarterback.

Darnold had one of his best games as an NFL quarterback, throwing for 279 yards on 68.6 percent completed, and a touchdown. That wound up being a 57-yard strike to former Jets receiver, Robby Anderson.

It was an old-fashioned whooping from the 2019 Jets on the 2021 Jets.

Not as much of a whooping though as to what the Saints did to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. A 38-3 win dominated by the New Orleans defense and the most eye-popping five-touchdown performance ever from Winston, the former No. 1 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winston threw the career-high five scores but also didn’t turn the ball over and to the tune of only 148 yards through the air. The overall story should be how the Saints offense was efficient and very good with Winston leading the charge, not throwing any interceptions, but the Saints defense (particularly the secondary) held Aaron Rodgers to less than 150 yards passing.

New Orleans will still be without Michael Thomas, but it helps to have a tight end that catches quite literally everything. Undrafted free agent Juwan Johnson caught three passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

The Saints had to play their home opener in Jacksonville due to Hurricane Ida, but even in a split crowd, it felt like a raucous home-field advantage.

Prediction


We’re not sure if the Saints defense is really that good, or we’re just in the mindset of the Week 1. However, accounting for the return and full health of Christian McCaffrey needs to be done. He’s going to be the difference maker for Darnold and the offense, and this should be a positive start for Carolina. Panthers by 7.

Betting trends


The Saints are 12-4 against the spread on the road.

The Panthers are 2-5 in their last seven as a home dog.

Players to watch


Saints: Alvin Kamara had 83 yards on 20 carries, while also having a receiving touchdown, as well, in Week 1.

Panthers: D.J. Moore, after a big season, had six catches for 80 yards in the win.

Statistical leaders


Saints:
Passing: Jameis Winston -- 148 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Alvin Kamara -- 83 yards
Receiving: Deonte Harris -- 72 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Marcus Davenport -- 1 sack

Panthers:
Passing: Sam Darnold -- 279 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Christian McCaffrey -- 98 yards
Receiving: Christian McCaffrey -- 89 yards
Defense: Shaq Thompson -- 10 tackles, 1 sack; Hasson Reddick -- 1.5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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