The Saints could all but wrap the NFC South up with a win against the Carolina Panthers in the Dome this Sunday, however, it won't be a walk in the park as we found out with the Falcons coming into the Dome and beating us, we took them for granted and it cost the Saints big time. We need to make sure we don't do the same against the Panthers as they know that a defeat will put them below .500 and will all but eliminate them from the playoff race due to how well teams like the Vikings and the Seahawks are doing in the wild card chase.
I am sure coach Payton will not allow the same sloppiness we saw in the Falcons game and we will come into this game looking to put space between ourselves and our closest rivals in the NFC South.
Last week we saw the strength in depth on defence and a hunger for the ball creating four turnovers and jumping on every chance Winston gave them with Marcus Williams getting a pick six which was one of four INT's caused by the defence. The offence will need more of the same and getting Thomas and Cook going early and in rhythm will be key. But most crucial on the offence is just to keep the ball and run well with Kamara and Murray. The Saints have turned the ball over the least out of any team in the NFL and that is one of the main things you need to win football games. The opposition can't score if you have the ball and guard it well and manage the clock.
The only real threat the Panthers have is Christian McCaffery who has had an outstanding season and his stats show that, however, that is what happens to great players on poor teams, just look at Brees's stats in the 7-9 seasons. The Panthers will look to stretch the Saints team with many pitches and screens to McCaffery so the defence will need to make sure when they make contact he goes down and doesn't break tackles or he will cause mayhem and control the clock just like Freeman did for Atlanta against us.
My keys to victory this weekend is solid tackling, pressure on an inexperienced and in poor form quarterback and control the clock. It isn't going to be pretty but the Saints will win 24-17 as we strap ourselves in for another tough division match up.