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NFL Betting: Saints vs. Panthers Thursday Night Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 10/30/2014 11:37:10 AM

The New Orleans Saints finally looked like a team ready to contend for an NFL championship this past Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. Can they keep it up against Carolina?

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers – Thursday, October 30

The New Orleans Saints had been playing terrible football over the first month and a half of the season. Let’s just face it – the Saints never did inspire any confidence in any game they played, even two wins. New Orleans played very little offense in a ragged and shaky win over the Minnesota Vikings. Later on in the season, the Saints barely snuck past the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, needing overtime to finally get past a team that has been one of the NFL’s worst in 2014. New Orleans’ defense was shredded for 31 points by an offense that has found it very hard to move the ball with any consistency. The win over Minnesota was noticeably weak because it came in a game when Viking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had to fill in as an emergency replacement. Bridgewater was not the starter for the game. Matt Cassel suffered an injury in the first quarter, and Bridgewater had to come in cold to replace him. Bridgewater has gotten better since then, but he was not ready to play that game, so the Saints’ defensive performance in that game should be seen in that light. Remember, those were the Saints’ two wins over the first month and a half of the season. Those were not good performances, and yet those were the games New Orleans didn’t lose.

The Saints were awful in their losses. They blew late leads to Cleveland, Atlanta and Detroit. They got blown out by the Dallas Cowboys. They looked like a team that wasn’t merely going to miss the playoffs, but a team that was going to finish the season with a losing record.

On Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, that finally seemed to change. The Saints put together what was by far their most complete team performance of the season… because it’s the only complete team performance of their season so far. The Saints’ offense ran Green Bay’s defense out of the Superdome in the second half, scoring 28 points after halftime en route to the 44-23 win that has the locker room in a different mood. New Orleans is going to be very confident heading into this game.

For Carolina, confidence is not a word you’d use to describe the Panthers. Carolina’s offense stalled in a 13-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. What’s worth noting about that game is that Seattle’s defense was banged up at multiple positions, with backup cornerbacks playing despite having made crucial mistakes. Carolina is beginning to look like a team that just plays well enough to lose. That’s a team the improving Saints should be able to handle, even on the road. New Orleans is going to benefit from playing another game so soon after Sunday night’s excellent performance against Green Bay.

Pick: Saints -3 Check out NorthBet on Foursquare here and learn more about our sportsbook here.

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