NFL Week 2 Predictions: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, 9/16/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  New Orleans -3
Current Betting Line:  New Orleans -2.5
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  52
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Carolina Panthers need to establish the running game against the New Orleans Saints

New Orleans will seek its first win of the season when opening up its 2012 NFC South schedule on Sunday inside Bank of America Stadium, as the franchise comes off a disappointing 40-32 setback as eight-point home favorites last week.  “We had one bad game,” stated Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer.  “We were all disappointed.”  The Saints are still feeling the effects of Bountygate, especially not having Sean Payton on the sidelines for the entire campaign.  New Orleans is 4-0 ATS in its last four division games, while the “under” is 8-1 in the last nine meetings in this series in Carolina.

The Saints are hoping that quarterback Drew Brees can move past a sub-par performance in Week 1, completing just 24-of-52 passes for 339 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.  New Orleans could potentially bounce back, as it hasn’t lost in this series since 2009, which includes scoring a combined 75 points in sweeping the 2011 series.  Offensively, the team must establish some sort of running game, gaining just 32 yards on 10 carries versus the Redskins.

Carolina suffered a disappointing 16-10 season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as three-point road favorites last week, as it was out-gained on the ground by 120 yards.  “It wasn’t fun watching, just for the fact that we weren’t winning,” commented Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart who didn’t participate in the game due to an ankle injury.  The franchise isn’t too concerned about its running game, as it didn’t top 100 rushing yards in the first two weeks in 2011.  Carolina is 2-8 ATS in September.

The Panthers are certainly capable of big numbers in the running game, with DeAngelo Williams joining Stewart in the backfield, while Cam Newton is the biggest dual-threat signal-caller in the league.  The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback threw for 303 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers, but finished with a career-low four rushing yards.  Everyone in the locker room is focused on trying avoid going 0-2 for the fourth consecutive season.

Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due their 5-1 ATS mark after allowing less than 150 yards passing, while the Saints are 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings.

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