Saints@Panthers Preview (from NOS.com)

Posted: October 5, 2007 in Saints

The New Orleans Saints (0-3) will return from their bye week to battle the Carolina Panthers (2-2) in a week five meeting at the Louisiana Superdome this Sunday afternoon.

“Our goal is simple,” said quarterback Drew Brees. “Somehow, someway, we need to get on the right track. This is a tough, physical team we are playing in Carolina and they will be coming in angry after a tough game yesterday. Our challenge is to match their intensity and come out and take advantage of the home field advantage. We need to have a great week of practice and get ready to go.”

The Saints returned from their bye weekend this morning and went through meetings and a practice session this morning.

The Black and Gold will be seeking to rebound from a 31-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans at the Superdome on Monday, September 24. Meanwhile, the Panthers fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-7 in Charlotte on Sunday as a stingy Bucs defense held Carolina to just 236 yards of total offense on a day when the Panthers were without the services of starting QB Jake Delhomme due to injury.

Offensively, the Saints must adjust to the placement on Injured Reserve of two-time Pro Bowl RB Deuce McAllister, who suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)* in the loss to the Titans. McAllister is the club’s all-time leading rusher with 5,678 yards.

“The loss of Deuce is sizable and it puts the onus on all of us to step up,” said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. “We like the depth we have at running back and it will certainly be tested right now and for the remainder of the season.”

The Saints possess solid depth in the backfield with proven veterans such as Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker and rookie Pierre Thomas. Bush, the second overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft posted 1,523 total yards in his rookie season in 2006 – 729, receiving, 565 rushing and 216 in punt returns with nine touchdowns. He scored two rushing touchdowns against Tennessee last week.

Stecker shared the running back duties once previously in 2005 when McAllister was sidelined with a right torn ACL and posted career-highs in rushing with 95 carries for 363 yards and receiving with 35 catches for 281 yards in four starts.

The Saints-Panthers series has been among the NFL’s most closely-contest rivalries since Carolina entered the NFL in 1995. Of the 24 previous games between the division rivals, 12 have been decided by six points or less, including Carolina’s 21-18 victory at Bank of America Stadium on October 1, 2006. In the 2006 regular season finale for both clubs at the Superdome on December 31, the Panthers prevailed 31-21 in a contest where the majority of the Saints’ starters watched from the sidelines for most of the game because the club had already clinched the NFC South title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

“The games against the Panthers have always been physical and close,” said defensive end Will Smith. “I know that we have a lot of respect for the players and coaches that they have and it’s a divisional game. Not much more needs to be said than that.”

Carolina holds a 13-11 edge over New Orleans in the all-time series and lead the Saints in games played at the Superdome with a 7-5 mark.

The Saints will be looking put an end to their three-game losing streak to start the season and their three game skid against the Panthers dating back to the 2005 campaign.

The Saints are 8-9 all-time coming off of a bye. They are 3-2 in the contests that have been played within the friendly confines of the Superdome.

*- acronym added by me 🙂

 

Macione, Justin. “Saints and Carolina Preview.” New Orleans Saints. October 1, 2007. October 4, 2007. [http://www.neworleanssaints.com/Articles/2007/10/Saints%20and%20
Carolina%20preview.aspx]

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Comments
  1. Chef Who Dat says:

    Mojo, you’re in rare form. Those citation skills are superb. Better bring all that and more to the Cafe on Sunday. Hogan’s back in town.

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