5 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers vs. Saints in Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

What are some keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers as they look to topple the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Week 2?

After a somewhat lackluster win against an inexperienced New York Jets team, the Carolina Panthers are looking to build on that momentum going into the first real challenge of the 2021 season.

But just how can the Panthers pull off the upset against the most dominant team in football after Week 1?

While Carolina seemingly squeaked out a win against a rookie quarterback, the New Orleans Saints dismantled a multi-time MVP and one of the best preseason bets for the Super Bowl. But in the end, no matter how dominant or against what level of competition, they both count as one.

However, one can’t help but be a little bit nervous when you see just how badly the Saints defense made Aaron Rodgers look in Week 1. Even when taking into account the strange offseason both he and the Green Bay Packers organization endured.

Another thing to consider is just how well a seemingly talent devoid secondary performed behind a hobbled Marshon Lattimore. Especially the emergence of rookie Paulson Adebo who hauled in a true rarity in the league, a red-zone pick of Rodgers.

All of this with only two sacks just hammers home the point further of how well the secondary played and disguised its intentions.

I remember thinking, like most people, that this Saints team would take a massive step back. Not necessarily because of the retirement of Drew Brees but because of the massive cuts that took place to get under the salary cap.

Teams don’t lose that much talent and remain competitive, at least not typically.

But enough about the competition, the Panthers performed well in their own right, especially on defense. A resurgent game by Shaq Thompson coupled with stellar defensive line play emerged as a beautiful picture of just what the future may hold for this team.

Sam Darnold was pretty good in his own right, especially in the second quarter. Having Christian McCaffrey go for his usual 180 total all-purpose yards certainly helped in that area.

But with that said, this team will have to take a major step forward if it wants to compete against the very best. This game will prove if they can accomplish that or if they need a little more time to grow.

Let’s take a look at just how the Panthers can accomplish that daunting task.