The 11-2 New Orleans Saints will travel to Carolina to take on the 6-7 Panthers in this week’s Monday night matchup. This would have been an important NFC South contest but the Panthers are winless in the second half of the season. The Saints on the other hand have dominated all season and this was evident last week. The Saints easily defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road 28-14. It was the teams’ 11th win in their last 12 games. The victory also helped them clinch their second division title in a row. The Panthers dropped their 5th in a row last week with an ugly 28-20 loss on the road to the Cleveland Browns. While they have not been eliminated from playoff contention, they will need help even if they win their last 3 games.

Cam Newton finished with a quarterback rating of 55.4 against the Browns as he completed 26 of 42 passes for 265 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. His favorite target was Ian Thomas who had 9 catches for 77 yards. The team gained 96 rushing yards on 25 carries, which is an average of 3.8 yards per run. Christian MCCaffrrey had a big game with 63 yards and both of their touchdowns on 16 carries. Defensively, they recovered 2 fumbles and sacked Baker Mayfield once. They struggled against the run as the Browns gained 116 yards on 21 carries, which is an average of 5.5 yards per rush. For the year, the Panthers defense has allowed their opponents to average 25.5 points and 367.2 yards per game.

Drew Brees threw an interception, lost a fumble and had only 1 touchdown pass against the Buccaneers and it didn’t matter as their defense shut Tampa Bay out on the second half. Brees completed 24 of 31 passes, for 201 yards and actually ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, which gave the Saints the lead. His favorite target was Michael Thomas who had 98 yards on 11 receptions. As a team, they gained 100 rushing yards on 30 carries with Mark Ingram leading the team with 52 yards. Their offense is second in the league with an average of 34.4 points per game. Defensively, they intercepted Jameis Winston once and sacked him 4 times. They allowed 4.6 yards per rush as the Buccaneers gained 105 yards on 23 carries. On the season, the Saints defense has allowed their opponents to average 21.8 points and 369.5 yards per game.

Carolina will have home field advantage and will be 6-point underdogs. They have gone5-8 against the spread including 4-2 at home. During their 5-game losing streak, only one game has been decided by more than 7 points. The Saints have gone 10-3 against the spread including 6-1 on the road. Both teams still have a lot to play for as the Panthers are still alive and the Saints are looking for the top seed and home field throughout.

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