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Saints Look to Go 3-0 Versus Panthers This Season

On Sunday afternoon the Carolina Panthers will face the New Orleans Saints in a wildcard showdown. This will be the third time this season the two teams have played head-to-head. The Saints are 2-0 on the season against the Panthers.

During the regular season, Carolina was 11-5 straight up and 9-7 against the spread. On the road, the Panthers were 5-3 SU and ATS. New Orleans during the regular season was 11-5 SU and 9-7 ATS. At home, the Saints were 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS.

Odds makers like the Saints as the opening line was New Orleans -5.5 which has been bet up to Saints -6.5, while the over/under point total opened at 48.5 and is 47.5 at this time on most books.

The NFC South rivals were tied atop the division but since the Saints won both head to head games and thus the division title, they host this first round matchup.

New Orleans started its season 0-2 but then rattled off eight straight wins, before ending the season 3-3 over their final six games. Last weekend, the Saints were beaten by Tampa Bay 31-24.

Carolina could not take advantage of the Saints loss as they fell last Sunday to Atlanta 22-10. It was just the second loss for Carolina over their final nine games of the season, with the other being a 31-21 loss to this same Saints team.

The usual big names will dominate the scoreboard on offense for Carolina with quarterback Cam Newton and tandem running backs Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. The running attack has carried the Panthers as they have the No. 4 running game in the NFL.

Defensively, Carolina is No. 3 in sacks, with Julius Peppers and Mario Addison having 11 apiece.

The Saints have the No. 2 offense in the NFL and their own two-headed running attack of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Saints rushed for 148 and 149 yards in the two games against the Panthers this season. Quarterback Drew Brees will look to keep the Panthers defense off balance with his pinpoint accuracy.

The Saints defense played well versus Carolina this season holding the Panthers to less than 300 total yards in each of the team games, but allowed 455 yards last week to Tampa Bay.

It will be hard for the Carolina offense that is averaging just 22.7 points per game to keep up with New Orleans which averages 28 points per game. Newton has thrown 16 interceptions while Brees has thrown just 4.

Looking at it with the spread, Carolina is 1-4 ATS in its past five games in New Orleans, while the Saints have covered in 11 of the last 13 games after giving up 30 points or more in their previous game.

Prediction: Saints win outright and cover

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