NFL Week 18: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Game Preview

"New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers" by GoonSquadSarah is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Carolina Panthers are set to travel to Caesars Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints in a week eighteen divisional matchup. The Panthers come into the game with a record of 6-10 and are currently tied with the Atlanta Falcons for last place in the NFC South. On the flip side, the Saints enter the contest with a record of 7-9 and sit in second place in the NFC South. With both teams recently being eliminated from the playoff hunt, there is not too much for either side to play for. Despite this, this still could end up being a very competitive game. The first time they played this season, the game came down to the wire and Carolina narrowly snuck out with a 22-14 win. 

Carolina Panthers Look to Pull Off Season Sweep of the Saints

The Carolina Panthers are coming off of a 30-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game was the nail in the coffin for the Panthers’ season as their chances to make the playoffs became zero as Tampa Bay clinched the NFC South with the win. While the postseason is out of the question for Carolina, they still have a divisional matchup sitting in front of them this week. The Panthers and Saints are two very similar teams. 

If Sam Darnold is able to put together another great performance this week, Carolina should not have much trouble winning this week. Last week, Darnold threw for 341 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. If he is able to replicate that game this week and the Panthers’ defense does not allow Alvin Kamara to take over, the Panthers should be able to complete the season sweep and end their season with a win. 

New Orleans Saints Hope to Bounceback After Week Three Loss to Panthers

Last week, the New Orleans Saints took down the Philadelphia Eagles by a final score of 20-10. The Saints were fortunate enough to face the Eagles when they were without quarterback Jalen Hurts and took full advantage of his absence. The Saints’ defensive unit really stepped up and forced the Philadelphia offense to go stagnant. If they are able to do this again this week, New Orleans should be able to take this game and even up the season series between the two teams. However, if they allow Darnold to have a big game through the air, it will be a very uphill battle. Andy Dalton has struggled at the starting position this season in New Orleans and it is clear that he is well past his prime. If New Orleans’ defense allows Carolina to get their passing attack going early, Dalton likely will not have it in him to keep up through the air. 

However, if New Orleans can get into a groove early and establish their running game and short passing game, they should be more than capable of taking down the Panthers to close out the season.