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Week 2 Game Preview: Panthers vs. Saints

Defense

Game Reset

History: Panthers vs. Saints

  • Carolina is 25-28 all-time against the Saints, playing New Orleans more than any other opponent in franchise history.
  • Six of the last 11 regular season contests with New Orleans have been decided by three points or fewer.
  • Current Streak: Saints W4
  • Last matchup: New Orleans won the 2020 season finale, 33-7, at Carolina

Notable Connections

Panthers

  • Offensive coordinator Joe Brady was an offensive assistant with New Orleans from 2017-18
  • Tight end Dan Arnold played for New Orleans in 2018 and 2019.

Saints

  • Wide receiver Chris Hogan played for Carolina in 2019

Jameis Winston was magical in his first start for the Saints after Drew Brees' 2021 retirement. The guy who led the league in touchdowns and interceptions in 2019, Winston was nearly flawless on Sunday — posting a passer rating of 130.8 as he tossed five touchdowns with no picks as New Orleans beat Green Bay, 38-3.

The Saints game plan worked to control the ball and the clock, as they ran 39 times, passing just 21 times, and held a nine-minute advantage in time of possession. Winston set an NFL record, becoming the first quarterback to throw five touchdowns with under 150 passing yards in a game (he had 148).

The Saints have had some familiar playmakers on offense during their run of NFC South titles, but this week may force fans to look at their roster cards a second time.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas won't be back for Week 2 as he continues to rehab his ankle injury. Running back Latavius Murray was released just before the season opener. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is now in Buffalo, and Jared Cook is playing for the Chargers.

So that leaves running back Alvin Kamara. And some new guys. Tony Jones Jr., a second-year running back out of Notre Dame had 50 yards on 11 carries on Sunday. Returner Deonte Harris had a 55-yard touchdown catch, and second-year tight end Juwan Johnson had three catches for two touchdowns.

Table inside Article
Category Panthers Saints
Offense
Total Yards/Game 381.0 (18th) 322.0 (23rd)
Rushing Yards/Game 111.0 (18th) 171.0 (3rd)
Net Passing Yards/Game 270.0 (14th) 151.0 (30th)
Sacks Allowed 1 (t-3rd) 0 (t-1st)
Third Down Efficiency 28.6 (25th) 50.0 (8th)
Points/Game 19.0 (21st) 38.0 (2nd)
Defense
Total Yards/Game 252.0 (t-3rd) 229.0 (1st)
Rushing Yards/Game 45.0 (2nd) 43.0 (1st)
Passing Yards/Game 207.0 (9th) 186.0 (7th)
Sacks 6 (t-1st) 2 (t-13th)
Third Down Efficiency 30.8 (10th) 10.0 (1st)
Turnover Margin 0 (t-13th) +3 (t-1st)
Points Allowed/Game 14.0 (t-5th) 3.0 (1st)

Stat Nuggets To Know

Team

  • Sunday marks just the fourth time since 2006 that the Saints will play Carolina without Drew Brees as the starter. Carolina is 4-5 all-time against Jameis Winston as a starter.
  • New Orleans and Carolina rank first and second in total rush defense through the first week. The Panthers allowed just 2.65 yards per rush, better than New Orleans' 2.87 yards per rush allowed.
  • Carolina tied for the league lead with six sacks and eight passes defensed and tied for second with nine QB hits. Last season, it took Carolina seven games before they reached six sacks.
  • The Panthers held the Jets to just 30.8 percent on third down conversions, ranking 10th in the NFL. That was quite an improvement from 2020, where the Panthers were next to last in defensive third down conversions.
  • In Sunday's third quarter, the Panthers managed just 28 total yards, last in the NFL. New Orleans had just 30 total yards which was second to last. In 2020, Carolina ranked 27th in the league with 58 total points in the third quarter.

Individual

  • Running back Christian McCaffrey had 98 rushing yards and 89 receiving yards on Sunday, marking this seventh career game with at least 75 rushing and 75 receiving yards, moving past Walter Payton into third place in that career category. Since 2018, McCaffrey leads the NFL with 136.6 scrimmage yards per game. His 329 career receptions are tied with Alvin Kamara for third-most in a running back's first five seasons.
  • Quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 279 yards and accounted for a passing and rushing touchdown. His 234 passing yards were the most in a first half in his career, while his 11 first down completions and four completions over 20 yards were single-game highs.
  • Wide receiver DJ Moore has 15.4 yards per catch since the start of the 2019 season, leading the NFL among qualified players. He is aiming for his fifth-straight game against New Orleans with at least 80 receiving yards.
  • Wide receiver Robby Anderson had a 57-yard touchdown catch in the season opener, his 10th career receiving TD of 40+ yards, tied for second-most in the NFL since 2016.
  • Linebacker Shaq Thompson filled up the stat sheet with 10 total tackles, one interception, one sack, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups, his first career game with all of those stat categories filled.
  • Defensive end Brian Burns had a first-quarter sack and now has 17.5 for his career, second-most among all players from his 2019 draft class.

Milestones in Reach

Christian McCaffrey

  • Needs a game with a rushing and receiving TD to pass Minnesota's Chuck Foreman (9) for the most such games in a player's first five seasons in the NFL
  • Needs 94 rushing yards to pass DeShaun Foster (3,336) for fourth in Panthers history
  • Needs six receiving TDs to pass Devin Funchess (21) for fifth in franchise history
  • Needs six scrimmage TDs (rush + receiving) to pass Muhsin Muhammad (50) for fifth and needs 14 scrimmage TDs to pass Cam Newton (58) for second in franchise history
  • Needs 460 scrimmage yards to pass Greg Olsen (6,463) for fifth in Panthers history

DJ Moore

  • Needs three receptions to pass Muhsin Muhammad (216) for the most receptions in a WR's first four seasons of his career in Carolina

Shaq Thompson

  • Needs 25 tackles to pass Chris Gamble (493) for fifth all time in Panthers history

Donte Jackson

  • Needs five interceptions to pass Richard Marshall/Doug Evans (14) for fifth all-time in franchise history

Brian Burns

  • Needs 3.5 sacks to pass Kris Jenkins (20.5) for seventh among defensive linemen in Panthers history

Jeremy Chinn

  • Needs 38 tackles to pass Will Witherspoon (157) for the most tackles in the first two seasons by a non-middle linebacker.

The Panthers trail the all-time series against the Saints, 25-28. Carolina has played New Orleans more than any other team in its history.