eye-3-yellow-3d-2-new-logo philly_kyw_new philly_94wip_new 35h_cbssportsrad_philly philly_wpht_new

TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 2: New Orleans Saints At Carolina Panthers

Saints
Panthers
Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Quarterback
Winner The scrutiny will be quite intense this year on the Saints and that means that all eyes will be watching Drew Brees even more than before. He is a brilliant leader and an accurate passer, but he may have trouble matching his previous levels if the Saints defense can’t do its job.
The Panthers jumped up dramatically last season with Cam Newton at quarterback but the NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?” kind of league. Newton was unimpressive in the season-opening loss to Tampa Bay.
Offense
Winner If the Saints are going to maintain their position as an upper-echelon team this season, it will be due to their explosive offense. Running back Darren Sproles, wide receiver Marques Colston and tight end are the keys to this unit that can light up the scoreboard.
The Panthers depend on their running game and that means DeAngelo Williams must give them big chunks along with Newton’s forays. Steve Smith remains a tough and productive wide receiver.
Defense
The Saints got a lift when Roger Goodell’s suspensions of Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma were lifted. Smith played against the Redskins but Vilma was not ready. The Saints defense is aggressive but somewhat shoddy against Washington.
Winner Head coach Ron Rivera is a defensive specialist and he had to be a bit disappointed that his team was not dominant against Tampa Bay. Keep your eye on superb rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly, who should be one of the best tacklers in the league.
Special Teams
Winner The Saints are going to have to win special teams battles this year because the defense appears subpar. Sproles is an explosive return man while punter Thomas Morstead has a strong leg.
The Panthers were unhappy with special teams and made significant changes. Brad Nortman got off to a decent start punting as the Bucs got no return yardage on his kicks.

The Winner Is

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints
Winner Saints
3 out of 4

The Saints will get a huge lift if Vilma is in good enough shape to play this game. Both teams want to avoid an 0-2 start and while the Panthers are at home, the Saints have too many offensive weapons and should be able to take this game.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Atlanta Falcons

    Josh McCown is almost certainly the most important player wearing a Tampa Bay uniform this season, and he is a skilled signal-caller who can read defenses, move well, throw with accuracy and avoid costly turnovers.

  2. SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 19: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts on the sideline after tipping a pass which led to a Seahawks game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during the 2014 NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
    Bigger Attention Hog: Richard Sherman Or Charlie Sheen?

    Two men keep taking the media by storm time. Cornerback Richard Sherman and actor Charlie Sheen square off in all their obnoxious glory.

  3. ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: Buffalo Bills fans hold up a picture of Terry Pegula during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 14, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. Visitors look at a 1979 Pontiac TransAm during the 37th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Cars auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, 16 January 2008. The Barrett-Jackson auction company specializes in classic and collectors cars, and their auction in Scottsdale is the world's largest collector car event. This year more than 1,100 cars are on sale during the week.
    Which Deal Is Worse: Buffalo Bills Sale Or A Craigslist Ripoff?

    Terry Pegula will pay over $1 billion for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Would getting ripped off on Craigslist be a better deal?

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31,893 other followers