Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers At New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Cam Newton has certainly stepped it up this year as he appears to have grown dramatically in maturity and confidence. Newton is a spectacular athlete and when he wants to run, there appears to be no stopping him. While his deep passing is solid and his arm is powerful, there are questions about his touch on short- and medium-range passes.
Winner Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL for years, and he is more than up to a challenge from a rising young star like Newton. While he may not be as athletic as the Panthers’ quarterback, he can get away from the pass rush and buy time with his feet. He is one of the most accurate passers and he excels on short- and medium-range passes.
Winner The Panthers want to be a diverse football team that can overpower opponents with the running game and hit big plays in the passing game. DeAngelo Williams (quadriceps) didn’t play against the Bucs but should be ready to play against the Saints. Steve Smith is one of the toughest and most competitive receivers, while Ted Ginn has game-breaking speed.
The Saints have struggled to put a consistent running attack on the field and Pierre Thomas is not likely to win the battle against Carolina’s hard-hitting defense. However, tight end Jimmy Graham is a gamebreaker and he is usually at his best in the biggest games. Marques Colston has been dependable and will make key third-down catches.
Winner The Panthers rank second in overall defense and head coach Ron Rivera is certain to come up with a new wrinkle that should challenge Brees. The Panthers are big hitters and nobody plays more consistently than Luke Kuechly, who leads the team with 102 tackles and also has three interceptions. The Panthers are hoping DE Charles Johnson (sprained knee) can return here. He leads the team with 10.0 sacks.
The fifth-ranked Saints are the most improved defensive team in the league as they have responded well to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton has taken the responsibility on his shoulders and he leads the Saints in tackles. Defensive end Cameron Jordan has speed coming around the corner and is a threat to sack Newton.
Special Teams
Winner The Panthers are an athletic and aggressive team and they don’t allow opponents to make big plays on special teams. Rivera is waiting for Ginn to break a long punt or kickoff return in a clutch game, and this certainly qualifies. Graham Gano has made 18-of-20 FG attempts.
Winner The Saints have not made big mistakes with their coverage teams. They stay in their lanes and don’t allow big returns. Garrett Hartley had a few misses early in the year but he appears to have straightened out his issues. Thomas Morstead is a solid directional punter.

The Winner Is

(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Winner Carolina Panthers
3 out of 4

A big-time statement game here, and the Panthers have survived key games at San Francisco and at home against New England. Still, beating the Saints in the Superdome will be quite difficult and a major test for Rivera, Newton and Kuechly.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

    The Vikings and Bears square off in a battle of NFC North divisional rivals.

  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

    Two of the top rookie QBs face off in Big D.

  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

    The Cardinals are still trying to catch the Seahawks atop the NFC West, they now take on the embattled Panthers.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS New York

Get Our Morning Briefs

Listen Live