Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- There isn’t much to like in this game.
- Neither team has anything to play for.
- Taysom Hill hurts everyone on the Saints offense.
- The Panthers backfield is a three-way timeshare.
- Rashid Shaheed is underpriced for his upside.
How Carolina Will Try To Win ::
“Woe to the vanquished.” This is how the 6-10 Panthers must feel after giving up twenty points in the fourth quarter of a heartbreaking loss to the Bucs that ended their season last week. Despite a disappointing end, it’s fair to say the Panthers had the most remarkable 6-10 season of all time. They fired their head coach (Matt Rhule) after a 1-4 start, before kicking off a fire sale on anything that wasn’t nailed down. They traded their best player (Christian McCaffrey), and their WR2 (Robbie Anderson), and started a QB carousel that led to P.J. Walker playing for a month. The entire world thought the Panthers were rolling over. Yet, somehow, after starting 1-4, they managed a much more respectable 5-6 down the stretch and were a bad fourth quarter away from being a favorite to make the playoffs. Quite a year for a team that looked like it was giving up in Week 6.
The Panthers found a power running identity after moving on from CMC, and part of that has been a slow pace of play. They are generally plodding (22nd in overall pace), which is their preference (23rd in situational neutral pace), and it could be argued they’d rather play even slower (31st in first half pace) but are willing to speed up if losing (15th in pace when trailing), which at 6-10 is often the case. The Panthers profile as a team that wants to run the ball a ton, and play slow, but are willing to play fast and chase points if they’re behind, which explains why they can create “must-have” game environments but also create a ton of duds.
The Saints have been strong against the pass (7th in DVOA), and weak against the run (19th in DVOA) which sets up perfectly for how the Panthers want to attack. Since Week 6, the number of passing attempts from the Panthers has been: 16 // 22 // 36 // 10 // 16 // 19 // 24 // 23 // 22 // 37. It’s possible we never again see a team throw the ball under 25 times in 10 out of 12 games. The Panthers O-line has been middling overall (15th ranked by PFF) but they’ve been stronger run blockers (8th in adjusted line yards), and they get to take on a struggling Saints front (20th in adjusted line yards given up). The Panthers were going to try and run anyway, and facing a run funnel defense probably assures us they will attempt under 30 passes (likely under 25), hoping to ride their running game to victory.