Saints vs Panthers Week 2 Picks and Predictions: New Orleans Sets Out to Prove It's the Real Deal

Jameis Winston spun five touchdowns in a blowout Saints win in Week 1 and now both he and NOLA look to prove they're the real deal in Week 2. Find out if the Panthers will provide any resistance to the upstart Saints with our picks.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2021 1:39 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Jameis Winston New Orleans Saints NFL
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This Sunday, the Panthers have their second home game of the new NFL season as they welcome the New Orleans Saints to Carolina. 

Both teams sit at 1-0, although the Jameis Winston-led Saints are 3-point favorites having knocked off the Packers last weekend. Don’t miss our free NFL betting picks and predictions for the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers.

Saints vs Panthers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line opened for the Saints at Panthers with the Saints 2.5 point favorites but after Week 1, we’ve seen the Saints' position strengthen to -3. We’re now looking at a lower scoring game with the Over/Under line moving from 46 to the current total of 44.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Saints vs Panthers picks

Picks made on 9/16/2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Saints vs Panthers game info

Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Date: Sunday, September 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Saints at Panthers betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

Key injuries

Saints: Michael Thomas WR (Out), Marshon Lattimore CB (Out), Erik McCoy C (Out), Tre’quan Smith WR (Out), Will Lutz K (Out), Marcus Davenport DE (Out), Kwon Alexander LB (Out), C.J. Gardner-Johnson S (Out).
Panthers: AJ Bouye CB (Suspended).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 4-0 in both the Saints and Panthers' last four games overall. Find more NFL betting trends for Saints vs. Panthers.

Saints vs Panthers predictions

Go on then, how many of you had the Saints beating the Packers by 35 points? Not many I assume, and it was the most shocking result of a wild opening Sunday to the NFL season.

Jameis Winston has deservedly got great credit following the victory. It’s not every day a team throws five passing touchdowns against the Packers but this feels like a statistical anomaly. Winston went 14 for 20 with only 148 yards for his five touchdowns, averaging a touchdown every three completed passes. That sort of success is unlikely to happen again, but there were still real positives from the performance of New Orleans.

The most impressive part of the performance was that of the Saints’ defense. There’s a lot to be critical of Aaron Rodgers for, but the performance of the Saints’ defense was fantastic. It’s early days but they now lead the NFL in defensive DVOA and should do well again this weekend against an offense that is, at least on paper, far weaker than Green Bay. 

Following the retirement of Drew Brees and the absence of Michael Thomas, we did doubt whether the Saints could be considered as Super Bowl contenders but with that defense carrying them, there is every chance they could make a deep run this season.

The Panthers beat the Jets 19-14 and were clearly the better team but they didn’t look convincing. The jury is still out on Sam Darnold, who at times looked improved from his time at the Jets, and at others looked like the same old Darnold. 

They’re still blessed to have Christian McCaffrey, who managed 89 yards last week, and a receiver room that now feels like it could become one of the league’s best. DJ Moore averaged 13.3 yards per reception last week, Robby Anderson was the deep ball threat we knew already, and rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. looked very impressive too.

Despite that talented set of skills players, you have to consider the Saints as the favorites here and I’m taking them to cover. The game will be a lot tighter than their last match but they have such strength on the defensive side of the ball that they’ll be able to do just enough to make sure that we cover.

You’ve already read about the quality of that Saints defense, so it won’t surprise you to see that I’m backing the Under here. At 44.5, it is a relatively low total but it’s the obvious betting play here.

Firstly, if you look at the Panthers, then it’s hard to imagine them scoring more than two touchdowns against a defense that was so dominant against the Packers. Then, when you look at the Saints, it’s clear that Jameis Winston’s numbers aren’t repeatable, so we’re expecting some regression in their passing game. You simply can’t keep throwing five touchdowns on such a low number of completions. 

The Panthers also did a great job of locking down the Jets' ground game last week too. They kept all three of the Jets rushers under four yards per carry, Tevin Coleman (2.7), Ty Johnson (3.8), and Michael Carter (1.5), which doesn’t bode well for Alvin Kamara and Tony Jones Jr.

The trends also back up the argument, with both the Panthers and Saints’ last four games all going Under the total points line. It’s also worth noting that the Panthers are 6-1 to the Under in their past seven games following a win, and the Under is 7-0 in the Saints’ last seven games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game, so they’re able to keep this great defensive run going.

There was one tight end on everyone’s lips after the last Saints game, with Juwan Johnson scoring two touchdowns, but it’s Adam Trautman that we should be keeping an eye on. He may not have found the endzone but he looks like a key piece in this new look Saints offense.

In Week 1, he had as many targets as Alvin Kamara and Marquez Callaway combined, ran twice as many routes as Johnson, and has the second-highest target share of all TEs in the league at 29 percent. Those are numbers that you need to stop and take notice of.

Sure, he only managed three receptions from six targets and turned that into 18 yards but it’s clear that he’s important to the way Sean Payton wants this team to move the chains. His line for this game is 27.5 yards and against a far weaker secondary, there’s a very strong chance that he exceeds the line, so smash the Over now.

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