Game Overview ::
By hILOW >>
- Carolina has a lot to figure out offensively, with primary struggles coming through the form of situational play calling.
- Carolina’s defense utilizes “light” packages and unique blitz looks to keep pass plays in front of them – this scheme is much better suited to playing in neutral-to-positive environments.
- The Panthers have run only 111 combined offensive plays over two games, or about 16 (eight plays per game) lower than league average through two games.
- The Saints have been forced into tempo during the second half in each of their first two games, likely indicating a team that would otherwise like to slow things down offensively.
- New Orleans has run only 127 combined offensive plays from scrimmage through two games.
- The combined time of possession through two games for these two teams is a laughable 51:04, meaning there are almost two full possessions unaccounted for.
How nEW ORLEANS Will Try To Win ::
The Saints rank right around league average in both first half pace of play and situation-neutral pace of play, but their overall pace of play has been synthetically propped up by a blistering second half pace of play, indicating to me that they would like to run a slower pace but have been forced into tempo later in games. They also rank right around league average in pass rate over expectation, which is notable considering the injury quarterback Jameis Winston is playing through. Furthermore, much of their offensive game plan likely revolves around the respective health of running back Alvin Kamara and the aforementioned Jameis Winston. Winston fractured his back in the season opener and then left Week 2’s contest with an ankle injury, while Alvin Kamara is dealing with multiple painful rib cartilage fractures, likely requiring Novocaine or Lidocaine injections on game day and a protective pad. It’s difficult to read into the 66% pass rate from Week 2 against a Tampa Bay defense that has led the league in pass attempts against each of the previous two seasons, meaning I’d expect the Saints to want to bias their attack towards the ground if possible, considering the status of their starting quarterback. The good news for them is their opponent this week utilizes a defensive scheme tailored to erasing the pass, with unique “light” packages designed to clog the areas of the field where bulk damage can be done.
As things currently stand, I expect Alvin Kamara to be held out for another week as he tends to his rib cartilage fractures, meaning we should expect another week of Mark Ingram, Tony Jones, and Adam Prentice backfield usage. Most notably amongst those three was the lack of a meaningful snap rate bump for Ingram, which could be explained away as matchup specific last week. The Saints offensive line has severely underperformed through two weeks, leading to a sub-4.0 net-adjusted line yards metric against the Panthers (3.945). I would tentatively expect Ingram’s snap rate to see a small boost as the primary rusher without Kamara, with Jones utilized in a change of pace/third down role. Overall, this is not a positive situation for the Saints to find themselves in on the ground.
Equally as frustrating as the ground game to date is the relative rotational roles we’re seeing from primary pass-catchers through two weeks, with second-year tight end Juwan Johnson (76.5%), rookie wide receiver Chris Olave (75.0%), veteran slot man Jarvis Landry (70.3%), and veteran alpha Michael Thomas (69.5%) all near even in snap rates played. Of note, Thomas saw a marked increase in snap rate in Week 2, jumping from 61% to a team-leading 76% at the wide receiver position. That said, it will be difficult to trust any for a weekly floor if the tight rotation of pass-catchers holds for an offense utilizing heavy 12-personnel alignments. I’m certain most analysts and “fanalysts” will point to the absurd 334 air yard, 13-target, 5/80/0 performance in Week 2 for Chris Olave, but the Buccaneers ran the highest rate of Cover-1 man in 2021 and the Panthers run some of the highest rates of Cover-3 zone, meaning we aren’t likely to see Jameis target a streaking Olave in man coverage as often this week. That should leave Michael Thomas, Juwan Johnson, and Jarvis Landry to soak up the underneath targets in the areas of the field Carolina is likely to allow.
How cAROLINA Will Try To Win ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- NOR allowed 23 pts to ATL in first 2.5 quarters of season, but have allowed just 16 (1 TD) in the 5.5 quarters since (Mariota & Brady)
- Only QBs to score multiple TDs vs 2021 NOR: Darnold (2) // Jones (2) // Brady (4) // Ryan (2) // Allen (4)
- Mariota & Brady have just 1 TD each vs 2022 NOR
- Mayfield has thrown just 27 & 29 passes to start 2022
- Mayfield is averaging just 195:1:0.5 through two games
- In 2021, Mayfield averaged 14.5 DK pts/g, only scoring 20+ once
- Moore has just 3 rec & 43 yds in both games in 2022
- Anderson has a 75 yd touchdown to his name in 2022, and other than that 4:27 & 3:32
- 2022 WRs vs NOR: London (5:74), Zaccheaus (4:49) // Evans (3:61), Perriman (3:45:1)
- CAR WRs vs NOR since 2020: Moore (4:93:2 // 5:101 // 8:79:1 // 3:29) // Anderson (6:74 // 3:40 // 3:38 // 2:10)
- Moore’s high since W4 of 2021 is just 17.3 DK pts
- CMC touches in full games in 2021: 30 // 30 // 19 // 23 // 18
- CMC in 2022: (10 att, 4 tg) // (15 att, 5 tg)
- CMC finished with 25+ DK pts in 4 of 5 full games in 2021
- CMC in 2022: 15.7 & 19.8 DK pts
- 2022 RBs vs NOR: CPatt (22:120:1, 3:16) // Fournette (24:65, 2:9)
- Cordarelle Patterson and Miles Sanders are the only two RBs to rush for 100+ yds vs NOR since middle of 2017
- Following a trend of NOR being extremely tough vs RBs since 2018::
- NOR ranked 1st in def rush DVOA in 2021
- Only 7 RBs finished with 50+ rush yds vs 2021 NOR, including CMC (24:72:1)
- RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22, 29.6) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26, 24.7) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7) // Gibson (21.2) // Patterson (22.6, 25.6)
- That’s 15 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 72 games, and just 7 of 25+
- 14/15 scored a TD /// 6/15 scored 2 TDs /// 10/15 had 5+ rec /// 13/15 had 6+ DK rec pts
- 2021 CAR allowed the 4th fewest QB DK pts/g, with the only QBs to score 25+ DK pts being Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, & Tom Brady
- Winston’s game vs CAR came with a myriad of excusable asterisks (Covid absences, injuries, etc), but it wasn’t pretty (111:0:2, 4 sacks)
- Winston has thrown 9 TDs to 16 INT vs CAR in his career, including 1 TD to 7 INT in the last two matchups alone
- Winston in 2022: 269:2:0 // 236:1:3
- QBs vs CAR in 2022: Brissett (147:1) // Jones (176:1)
- CAR has the 6th most pressures through 2 weeks per PFR
- Winston has taken 10 sacks in two games
- Thomas’s average targets/g by season: 8.1 // 9.3 // 9.2 // 11.6 // 7.9
- Thomas has received 8 & 9 tg in 2022
- Other tg: Olave (3 / 13) // Landry (9 / 5)
- Thomas in 2022: 5:57:2 // 6:65:1
- Olave has the 8th highest % of team air yds in the NFL
- 2021 CAR allowed the 6th fewest WR DK pts/g
- 2022 WRs vs CAR: DPJ (6:60), Cooper (3:17) // Shepard (6:34), James (5:51)
- Thomas career DK pts vs CAR: 18.8 // 11.8 // 21.7 // 18 // 11.9 // 29.1 // 7.7
- Juwan Johnson has 5 & 7 tg through 2 weeks
- Johnson routes/dropback: 32/40 // 33/47
- Johnson has 43 & 40 yds in first two 2022 games
- CAR allowed the 11th fewest TE DK pts/g in 2021
- 2021 CAR allowed the 4th fewest RB DK pts/g
- RB touches:yds vs 2022 CAR: Chubb (23:143), Hunt (15:70:2) // Saquon (25:88)
- In 2021, AK’s total touches without Ingram: 24 // 14 // 28 // 26 // 24 // 31 // 32 // 19 // 32
- In 2021, AK’s total touches with Ingram: 23 // 20 // 17 // 17
- AK had 9 rush att & 4 tg in Week 1 vs ATL before missing W2 with his ongoing rib injury
- AK vs CAR in 2021: 8:5, 4:25 // 13:32, 5:68:1