For the third year in succession, the playoff-bound New Orleans Saints (11-4) finish the regular season with a trip to the Carolina Panthers (5-10).
Sean Payton's injury-ravaged Saints' team has already been crowned champions of the NFC South and has little on the line against Carolina. With backs, Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray sidelined due to COVID, and wideouts, Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris unlikely to be risked with the playoffs looming large, Sean Payton could be forced to field a largely inexperienced attacking-unit, which could make for interesting viewing.
The Panthers fell short of the playoffs for the third year in a row but head coach, Matt Rhule will be hoping to end a tough season on a high with another win, this time over their fierce division rivals, to add to last week's victory against Washington Football Team (20-13).
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers betting odds
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers picks
- Taysom Hill will rush in +1 touchdown for the Saints.
- TE, Jared Cook will register +1 receiving touchdowns for the Saints.
- Drew Brees will throw for + 250-yards and +2 touchdowns for the Saints.
- Saints' Trey Hendrickson will sack Panthers' QB, Teddy Bridgewater x2.
- Curtis Samuel will score a +1 touchdown for the Panthers.
- DJ. Moore will score +1 receiving touchdown for the Panthers.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers keynotes
- New Orleans leads the all-time series vs Panthers, 27-25.
- New Orleans bested the Panthers 27-24 in wk-6.
- WR, Curtis Samuel had a career-high,158-yards-from-scrimmage during last week's game against the Washington football team.
- Drew Brees has two-plus TD passes in 3 of 4 games vs Carolina.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers key injuries
- TE Josh Hill, Doubtful (hand)
- S Marcus Williams, Doubtful (ankle)
- RB Alvin Kamara, Out (COVID-RESERVE)
- WR Latavius Murray, Doubtful (COVID-RESERVE)
- WR Michael Thomas, Out (thigh)
- S/DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Out (COVID-RESERVE)
- DE Brian Burns, Doubtful (shoulder)
- RB Mike Davis, Doubtful (ankle)
- WR Robby Anderson, Doubtful (groin)
- OT Russel Okung, Doubtful (calf)
- CB Troy Pride Jr, Doubtful (hip)
- RB Christian McCaffrey, Out (thigh)
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Prediction
The Saints head into this final day showdown against the Panthers with just one of four rostered wideouts (viva Emmanuel Sanders!), and -- thanks to COVID-19 -- without a single registered running-back, so to get a result, head coach, Sean Payton is going to need to dig deep into his offensive playbook -- expect to see plenty of Taysom Hill in his more-accustomed role as a 'Joker.'
Carolina is in no man's land for the NFL Draft, so look for Matt Rhule's team to be hungry for a morale-boosting W at home on the final day of the season. The Panthers have a young, talented defense that will be eager to impress against the legendary Drew Brees. Teddy Bridgewater will want to show his former team what they're missing, and it could be a fun afternoon in the Saints' backfield once the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Robby Anderson, etc. become acquainted.
There should be some fun matchups out there, and the Saints' injury crisis gives the Panthers a much better chance of a result...
Even so, it's hard not to back Saints coach Sean Payton: he keeps finding ways to win and I think he will once again on Sunday -- New Orleans 27-24 Carolina Panthers.
Money Line: Panthers: +210; Saints: +250
Against the Spread: Panthers +5.5; Saints -5.5Published 03 Jan 2021, 14:00 IST