Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heading out for the Panthers and Saints

Couple quick notes as I head out to the big ATM on Mint Street:

New Orleans getting back Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey is not a good thing for the Panthers. The Saints have gotten by at 3-3 without these two, and their return ads weapons to Drew Brees. While both are going to get their opportunities, the addition shouldn't be enough to decide the game. You would have to figure on both having a certain degree of rust. Shockey is a better pass catcher, than blocker in my opinion. Task for the Panther defense will be to keep them in check as best they can. The home run threat is still Reggie Bush, and he remains priority one, but adding Colston and Shockey means the defense has more to watch out for.

Carolina's rushing attack facing the 14th ranked defense against the run. Problem there is they Panthers will go in (likely, as I haven't heard officially), without Jeff Otah and Ryan Kalil. Geoff Hangartner and Jeremy Bridges have done good work in their absence, and will have to do more of the same. In this "Fox Ball" offense (run, run, run), getting yards on the ground is imperative. I do think there will be added incentive for the Panthers to move it on the ground this week, considering their 40 yards on the ground against Tampa Bay last weekend. The Panthers can not win without a solid ground game, so if the Panthers can move it via the rush, they give themselves a great chance to win.

Reggie Bush. Not only is he the home run threat on offense, but on special teams as well. He has run back punts better than anyone else in the league this season, going nearly 27 yards per return. That's a bad sign, considering the Panthers have trouble in punt coverage. I don't foresee New Orleans going after Jason Baker as other teams have--they have a better chance of scoring by setting up a return. Baker needs booming kicks that have some enormous hangtime in order to keep Bush from taking it to the house.

Overall, this game will come down to how badly the Panthers want to win it. To me, the Panthers are clearly the better overall team, it's a matter of them showing up to get it done. I think they will, but as mentioned before, you may need to keep your cardiologist's phone number handy.

Prediction: Carolina 24 Saints 21

Make sure you check out Coach Fox's post game comments live on news 14 about 10 minutes after the game ends!

Mike Solarte

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