Both the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers got their seasons off to a quick start with 1-0 wins in their respective games. The Saints pulled off a stunning 38-3 upset win over a disheveled Packers team, while Sam Darnold got his revenge against his former team in the Jets. One of these two teams is going to come out of Week 2 undefeated, but who will it be?
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers Week 1 odds
Date/Time: September 19, 1 p.m. ET Arena: Bank of America Stadium How to watch: FOX Opening odds: New Orleans -4 | O/U 44.0 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Saints made a statement in their blowout win over the Packers in Week 1, as Jameis Winston was dialed in, throwing five touchdown passes on only 20 total attempts. Because of their respectable defensive unit in addition to the offense, they come in as four-point road favorites against a revitalized Panthers’ offense. The concern here, however, is the fact that No. 1 CB Marshon Lattimore is now week-to-week with a thumb injury, while Marcus Davenport — once of the Saints’ better pass rushers — is expected to miss some time.
Will this be enough for the Carolina offense to exploit?
Quarterback analysis - Jameis Winston vs. Sam Darnold
Winston looked masterful (as the Packers’ defense looked dreadful) in Week 1, posting a 25% touchdown rate and making all the right throws. While we won’t see that unsustainable touchdown rate hold, his volume is sure to increase in weeks ahead, making these five-score games a realistic possibility.
With the Panthers’ secondary being nothing to write home about, there could be an opportunity for Winston’s receivers to open up, allowing him to air it out downfield as he did in Week 1.
Sam Darnold wasn’t amazing, but he was certainly better than what we’ve become accustomed to in terms of his play under his former head coach Adam Gase. He completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 279 yards and one touchdown with nine of his 35 attempts going to check-down master Christian McCaffrey. He was also able to log a goal-line rushing touchdown. At the very least, Darnold now has a security blanket to help pad the floor of his stats in his running back. He also showed rapport with D.J. Moore, who was second on the team with eight targets, as well as his former wideout Robby Anderson who was the recipient of a 57-yard touchdown bomb.
Darnold faces a tougher task against a New Orleans secondary, but if Marshon Lattimore is forced to miss the game, we could see even more targets fed to WR1 Moore, resulting in a clearer path to upside for Darnold.
Latest Saints betting news & info
The Saints tied the Cardinals as the second highest-scoring team in the NFL in Week 1, while their defense allowed the fewest points in the league (3). While they had a different quarterback in 2020, they finished with a 10-8-0 record against the spread in 2020 and posted a 4-3-0 record ATS in games where they came in as a road favorite. Given how good they looked on both sides of the ball, despite new quarterback play, it feels like they have a good chance to build on that record Sunday.
Their 38 points against a mediocre defense also bode well for the over here, as the Panthers’ defense is nothing to write home about.
Latest Panthers betting news & info
Carolina found themselves as home dogs only five times in 2020, posting a 2-3-0 record ATS, but posted an overall 8-4-0 record ATS as straight-up underdogs. Again, this is a different quarterback than 2020, similar to the Saints, and with Christian McCaffrey back, their offense has exponentially more upside than it did last season. To pile on to that point, McCaffrey’s 187 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 were only 42 yards less than the entire Packers team recorded as a whole.
While I am not extremely confident in the spread here, the total feels like one that is already a few points too low given the offensive weapons on both sides of the game.
Saints vs. Panthers betting picks - NFL Week 2
While I think there is upside in both of these offensive units, I don’t feel strongly enough about one nor the other to choose a side of this spread with confidence. With that said, I believe in the offensive weapons on both sides of the ball. This game Will House two of the best running backs in the NFL and a number of elite downfield receivers with two quarterbacks willing to push the ball downfield. Because of this, the 44-point total feels too low.
Here are our betting picks for Saints vs. Panthers in Week 2.
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Joe Metz is the Operations Manager of Partnerships for FTN Network. Formerly of Fantasy Data, Fansided, and RotoCurve, Joe has been involved in fantasy sports since High School while picking up on betting and writing during his time at Xavier University. He co-hosts the FTN NBA Podcast while also writing and betting on NBA and NFL for FTN Daily, FTN Fantasy, and FTN Bets.