Panthers vs. Saints: Prediction, best bets, what to expect

(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees /
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Carolina Panthers
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Tre Boston /

Carolina Panthers vs. Saints: What to expect

Much will depend on how many starters see meaningful reps for the Saints. If Green Bay is having their way with the Bears en route to the No. 1 seed, Sean Payton won’t hesitate to take his leading men out with no bye week to call upon before the knockout stage of the season begins.

There is a lot riding on this game for some members of the Carolina Panthers, who are fighting for their respective futures with the organization. Certain individuals are past the point of no return. But for others right on the fringes, a strong showing in this one would make the coaching staff think twice about keeping them around next season.

Until the playoff scenario develops, expect to see plenty of Alvin Kamara against Carolina’s much-improved run defense. The All-Pro candidate is riding on the crest of a wave and if he can make a difference in the early exchanges, it could be a long afternoon for the Panthers.

Teddy Bridgewater ends a turbulent first campaign under center against the team he turned out for in 2019. The signal-caller performed well in his first outing against the Saints, completing 81.14 percent of his passes for 254 passing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a QBR of 88.5.

Something similar will be needed to keep the wolves from the door this offseason. But nobody will know more about taking advantage of the Saints’ potential weaknesses than Bridgewater and offensive coordinator Joe Brady.