Carolina Panthers: Jimmy Boyd’s thoughts

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Jun 17, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) during minicamp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Question:  Where will the running game come from for the Saints and Falcons?

Answer:  I think the Saints are actually in pretty good shape at running back. Mark Ingram finally looks like he turned the corner, Khiry Robinson is a capable backup and they added in C.J. Spiller, who they will definitely work into the offense both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield.

Different story with the Falcons. Devonte Freeman is the projected starter, but wasn’t all that impressive as a rookie, just 3.8 yards/carry. Wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if rookie Tevin Coleman ended up leading the team on the ground.

Rebuttal:  Sorry, I do not see Ingram as a featured back.  4.2 yards/carry is not going to get it done for a team that lost Graham.  With Spiller coming off an injury and never having featured back numbers, not a chance a new team improves his output.  Thank you Jimmy for letting us all know the Falcons will again struggle.  They needed to upgrade and did not.

Question:  What are the Falcons, Saints and Bucs formulas to beat the Panthers?

Answer:  When it comes to beating the Panthers, I think the most important thing for all 3 teams is to take care of the football. Carolina’s defense is too good to give their offense a short-field to work with. Not far behind, is limiting the big plays when the Panthers have the ball and making sure they don’t get their running game going. I also think you have to stay balanced offensively and not give up on running the ball if it’s not working early.

Rebuttal:  I agree with Jimmy that each team in the NFC South has to protect the ball when playing the Panthers.  But, with the stellar defense already and the institution of the “Peanut Punch” that Charles Tillman has been instituting and preaching to the defense, I do not see a way turnovers will not happen.  Plus, the Panthers will get the big play having Benjamin, Funchess and Ginn, it is a given.  Now the question is, with the Panthers amazing defense and front seven, how can you stay with the running game when it never will get started?

Question:  Who wins the NFC South and why?

Answer:  I have the Saints winning the division. I look for New Orleans to get back to dominating at home and I like what they have done offensively. I also think the Saints have an edge with getting to play Arizona and Detroit out of the NFC West and NFC North, while Carolina has to face arguably the two best teams in Green Bay and Seattle.

Rebuttal:  We all know I am going to disagree here.  How will the Saints dominate at home when they had a 3-5 record at home in 2014 and again they lost a guy named Graham.  Plus, both the Packers and Seahawks are vulnerable and the Panthers always play both close.  The Panthers will split these games, if not win them both, while Arizona and Detroit are not slack teams and I do not see the Saints winning both, or either of these games.

There you go, another expert picking the Saints.  What is it we all seem to be missing, because surely they do not think an aging Brees, with Graham gone, will be able to beat the Panthers twice, plus win more games.