Sunday Showdown: Both Teams Need the Win, Only One Will Emerge
Here's my weekly take on the Keys to the Game for each team now that we have had a full game to observe.
It’s purely simple. Drew Brees has to establish a rhythm, and the sooner the better. Drew was under tremendous fire last week, and never got to settle into his style of offense. The receivers will have to step up too, as last week was full of way too many drops. The run game should be established, well some sort of one, and not be abandoned. Here's a scary stat from the Redskins game: RGIII & Company had the ball for 39:10 of the game....time of possession for the Saints? 20:50 - @TheRealJRad & I agree that our impact player/sleeper for this game is Joseph Morgan.
From RGIII to Cam Newton, we know what we're up against. Steve 'Dirty' Smith is our proven boil on our ass, and is Questionable, but I doubt he'll miss this time of game. We will be without the services of Johnny Patrick already, and with a Questionable Jabari Greer, we'll need someone to step up (Like Corey White). The front 7 is going to have to no only get the pressure to disrupt Cam Newton, but more importantly wrap him up & prevent him from spreading the field/making something happen. I look for Curtis Lofton to step up & make some big plays.
It's not encouraging to see that Thomas Morstead punted 5 times last week. However, he averaged almost 56 yards/punt. If he's going to be a factor (and no offense Leg, we really don't want you out there unless it's kicking off touchbacks), we'll need him to pin the Panthers deep.
Finally, my X-Factor is Aaron Kromer. He will need to get his players focused, plain & simple. All eyes are fixed on him, and his time to shine has never been needed more.
Carolina, like all NFC South games, is never an easy opponent. This game will be close, and it may come down to the last 2 minutes. I think the Saints are poised to let actions speak louder than words. Look for a tight first quarter, and then the scoring to open up in the second quarter.
Final Prediction: Saints 31, Panthers 27