3 reasons the Carolina Panthers can beat the Saints in Week 2

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Panthers +3.0. FOX. Sunday, September 19. 1-0. 87. 1 PM ET. 1-0. 15

Here’s how the Carolina Panthers can beat the New Orleans Saints when the two teams clash at Bank of America Stadium in Week 2 of the 2021 season.

Last Sunday the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 19-14 to open their season 1-0 for the first time since 2018. Sam Darnold played well against his old team, passing for 279 yards and racking up both passing and rushing touchdowns.

It was a good start for the former No. 3 overall selection, but the going will undoubtedly be tougher when the New Orleans Saints come to town this weekend.

New Orleans steamrolled last year’s MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, winning 38-3 in their temporary home in Jacksonville. Quarterback Jameis Winston was impeccable in his first start with the Saints, throwing for five touchdowns for the first time since his rookie season in 2015.

He proved himself to be efficient, completing 14 of 20 passes, and most importantly had zero turnovers.

The Panthers narrowly escaped a late Jets push in Week 1, despite clearly being the better team.

If they want to topple the Saints this weekend, they will certainly need to play a more polished, complete game. That means not missing open receivers, not making turnovers, and of course, finding someone who can kick the ball through the uprights – you’re up, Zane Gonzalez.

Fortunately, Carolina showed enormous glimpses of hope against the Jets.

The defense tallied an astounding six sacks – tied for most in the league – held Zach Wilson to a 54 percent completion percentage, and completely shut down the Jets’ run game.

Slowing the Saints’ offense will be much more difficult. But it was nice to see the Panthers display some defensive dominance for the first time in a while.

If the Panthers can contain Alvin Kamara and force Winston into uncomfortable situations, then they will give themselves a great shot to win the game.

Sunday will be a much stiffer test for Darnold and the offense, but with Christian McCaffrey back in the lineup, that unit should be more than capable of holding their own.

So without further ado, here are three ways that Carolina can win on Sunday.