New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview - September 25th, 2022

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Sunday the New Orleans Saints (1-1) will battle the Carolina Panthers (0-2). Oddsmakers peg the Saints as the favorite with an implied win probablity of 55%, leaving the Panthers with a 45% chance to record a win. The current spread is the Saints -2.5 with a Game Total of 41.0.

Carolina's primary advantage has been their defense, which has allowed a scant 304 yards per game -- #2-best in the NFL. They've succeeded in large part due to their pass defense, which has held opposing air attacks to the #2-least yards per game: 186. To give credit where credit is due, their run defense has also been terrific, checking in at #8 in yards per carry (4.3). A big factor in their success has been the ability to shed blocks and get to the quarterback quickly; they've averaged just 2.31 seconds after the snap before getting pressure on the QB -- #1-quickest in the league. The Carolina Panthers pass defense has had the most success in covering opposing running backs, who have managed just 21 yards per game against them (#32-least in football). Carolina's pass rush has been led by their defensive tackles who, ranking as the #7 unit in the NFL, have given opposing quarterbacks fits. This presents a decided advantage for Carolina given that the Saints haven't had much success throwing the ball this year, managing a mere 6.68 yards per target (good for #10-worst in the league). When it comes to their offense, the Panthers check in at #31 in football when it comes to total yards per game. Their passing game has compiled 203 yards per game (#29 in football). Their run game has ranked #28 with 3.82 yards per attempt on the ground.

New Orleans's biggest strength has been their defense, ranking #5 in the league while allowing just 316 yards per game. Much of their success has been in shutting down the run game, holding opposing ball-carriers to the #1-least yards per carry: 3.87. That's not to take anything away from their pass defense, though, which checks in at #7 in yards per target (7.21). What makes New Orleans's success all the more impressive is that they've done this without stacking the box with an extra defender the way many teams try to plug the holes in their run defense. They've brought an extra defender up just 13.5% of the time, or #9-least in football. The Saints defensive ends have played a big part in their ability to stop the run, ranking #2-best in the NFL by this measure. This represents a particular advantage for New Orleans given that the Panthers have struggled so much with their run game this year, managing just 3.82 yards per carry (#5-worst in the league). In terms of their offense, the Saints have ranked #29 in the league in total yards per game. They've passed for 202 yards per game (#31 in football). On the ground they've ranked #30 with 3.51 yards per carry.

New Orleans Saints Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects Jameis Winston to be much more involved in his offense's rushing attack this week (11.0% projected Carry Share) than he has been since the start of last season (3.2% in games he has played).

  • Jameis Winston's throwing precision has been refined this year, with his Completion% increasing from 58.2% to 63.3%.

  • The New Orleans Saints have gone no-huddle on a lowly 2.3% of their play-calls outside the two-minute warning since the start of last season (2nd-least in the league). This deadens the pace, leading to less volume and stat production.

Carolina Panthers Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects this game to see the 3rd-highest volume of plays run among all games this week at 127.7 plays, accounting for the tendencies of each team and game dynamics.

  • Christian McCaffrey has put up a monstrous 7.0 air yards per game since the start of last season: 95th percentile among running backs. (That may not sound like a lot, but most RBs have negative air yards because they are targeted behind the line of scrimmage).

  • The Sharp Model projects Christian McCaffrey to total 0.25 receiving TDs in this week's game, on average, ranking him in the 100th percentile among RBs.

Betting Trends

  • The Carolina Panthers have scored first in 9 of their last 15 games (+4.65 Units / 27% ROI)

  • The New Orleans Saints have hit the Moneyline in 6 of their last 8 away games (+7.45 Units / 55% ROI)

  • Marquez Callaway has hit the Receiving Yards Under in 9 of his last 12 games (+5.25 Units / 34% ROI)