New Orleans Saints @

Carolina Panthers

Sun, Dec 29
10:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 113
Odds: Carolina Panthers +13, Total: 45

Game Analysis

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Lean – CAROLINA (+13.5/+13) over New Orleans

Will Grier showed us why he wasn’t able to beat Kyle Allen for the starting job, as he averaged just 3.8 yards per pass play against an awful Colts secondary last week. Christian McCaffrey needs 67 receiving yards to become the third player ever to record 1000 rushing yards and 1000 receiving yards in the same season, but it won’t be easy in the matchup. The Saints are one of four teams allowing less than 5 yards per target to opposing running backs and linebacker Demario Davis is surrendering only 0.76 yards per cover snap (4th). Cameron Jordan has 14.5 sacks (3rd) but the edge rusher will be neutralized by right tackle Taylor Moton, who ranks 9th in pass blocking efficiency. New Orleans lost their other edge rushing threat Marcus Davenport (foot surgery), who ranks 13th in pass rushing efficiency, so the Saints aren’t likely to apply as much pressure on Grier as they normally would.

Gerald McCoy ranks 8th in pass rushing efficiency among interior defenders for the Panthers and should wreak havoc up the middle against a Saints interior line that could be without both starting guards again. I expect New Orleans to have a conservative game-plan protecting Drew Brees since they are a huge favorite. Alvin Kamara will exploit Carolina’s 31st-rated rush defense all afternoon. Michael Thomas just set the NFL record for most receptions in a season and he has a favorable matchup across from cornerback Donte Jackson, who is conceding 1.62 yards per cover snap (4th-worst).

The Saints need a win plus a 49ers or Packers loss to get a first-round bye in the playoffs. Our model makes New Orleans a 10.7-point favorite with a predicted total of 49.3 and I’ll lean with the Panthers as I think the Saints will be playing not to lose rather than playing to win big.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Saints
  • Panthers


  • Pass Plays 38.3 40.2
  • Succ Pass Plays 53.0% 42.5%
  • Sack Rate 3.9% 8.4%
  • Int Rate 1.1% 1.8%
  • Deep Pass Rate 12.9% 17.3%
  • Big Pass Yards 34.3% 44.3%
  • NYPP 7.0 6.0


  • Rush Plays 24.7 21.8
  • RB YPR 4.4 3.8
  • Stuff Rate 18.3% 25.8%
  • Succ Rush Plays 53.2% 45.2%
  • Big Rush Yards 43.6% 36.7%
  • Yards Per Rush 4.5 4.2


  • All Snaps 62.9 62.0
  • Early Down Succ 56.5% 46.3%
  • Succ Rate 52.4% 43.8%
  • Big Yards Rate 37.2% 42.4%
  • Yards Per Play 5.9 5.4
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.2% 0.9%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 30.6 27.1
  • Run Ratio 39.1% 35.1%
  • Starting Field Pos 31.8 26.3
  • Game Control 4.2 -4.2
  • Points 27.7 22.1
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