Saints moving home games to LSU might help the Panthers
By Dean Jones
The New Orleans Saints potentially moving their home games outdoors to LSU’s stadium might benefit the Carolina Panthers going forward.
There might be some incoming changes for the Carolina Panthers relating to their Week 7 contest at the New Orleans Saints. With Sean Payton‘s men unable to host fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome due to COVID-19 health concerns, they are exploring the possibility of moving games to LSU’s Tiger Stadium until social distancing measures are relaxed.
According to multiple reports, the Saints are in negotiations to shift their fixtures following the bye week, which could mean that the Carolina Panthers are the first to take on New Orleans in their temporary new home.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel stated they are meeting with LSU officials today to try and figure out the best way forward with the city mayor Latoya Cantrell repeatedly denying requests from the organization to allow spectators at reduced capacity.
"“Our game operations staff is meeting with LSU officials today to discuss potentially hosting. LSU has been gracious and enthusiastic regarding hosting our future games and we very much appreciate their partnership. We have also discussed the possibility of moving our home games to LSU with the NFL and they are aware of our exploring this option. Obviously, our overwhelming preference is to play our games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with partial fan attendance but there has been no indication from the city on when, or if, this might be approved.”"
How will this impact the Carolina Panthers?
This might actually work in the Panthers’ favor. Playing in a dome has been a huge advantage for the Saints in recent years. But with no fans making a deafening noise, there does appear to be a lack of motivation from a player perspective if their recent performances are any indication.
They were sluggish in their approach in the first half against the Chargers on Monday Night Football, which almost cost them before a fine fightback after the break. Moving to Baton Rouge won’t mean a capacity crowd by any stretch of the imagination. But it could give them the spark they’ve been missing.
It might also have a detrimental effect on their ambitious goals. If the Panthers are the first team to take them on in a different environment, it represents an outstanding chance to get one over on the Saints during the acclimation process and give their chances of a surprise NFC South title challenge a big boost.
Other teams will also be thinking the same thing. Not having to go to such a daunting place on the road is going to be a huge psychological edge even if fans are allowed to attend games at LSU. So this is another element of this situation that New Orleans needs to consider before they sign off on the decision.
There does appear to be some kinks in the Saints’ armor this season. Their defense has given up some significant points and yardage through five weeks of the campaign and had it not been for running back Alvin Kamara, their production on the offensive side of the ball leaves a lot to be desired.
As for the Panthers, they need to focus on this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears, who sit at 4-1 and have been one of the NFL’s most surprising teams in 2020.
Worrying about matters out of their control is not worth doing. So head coach Matt Rhule must reiterate to his roster not to look ahead further than their next opponent, something which has stood them in good stead during the season so far.