Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints odds, picks and predictions
The Carolina Panthers (6-10) finish their season against the New Orleans Saints (7-9) in the Caesars Superdome Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (FOX). Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the Panthers vs. Saints odds, and make our expert NFL picks and predictions.
The 2022 season was not kind to the Panthers and Saints. Both came in with postseason aspirations — or at the very least finishing better than .500 — but they find themselves out of the playoff picture when they take the field Sunday.
The NFC South rivals faced off in Week 3 with the Panthers, as 9.5-point home underdogs, upsetting the Saints 22-14. QB Baker Mayfield (now with the Rams) and RB Christian McCaffrey (now with 49ers) started for Carolina, while QB Jameis Winston (season-ending injury) and WR Michael Thomas (on injured reserve) started for New Orleans. They won’t be involved Sunday, so little can be taken from that 1st game to analyze this one.
Both teams are eliminated and will end with losing records. The Panthers controlled their destiny entering Week 17 but lost as 3.5-point road underdogs to Tampa Bay 30-24. The Saints surprisingly upset a Jalen Hurt-less Eagles 20-10 last week — New Orleans was a 5.5-point road dog.
New Orleans’ calling card during its three-game winning streak has been its defense, but it hasn’t topped 21 points in any of those wins. Meanwhile, Carolina’s offense has rattled off 970 total yards and 61 points in the past two weeks alone, and is averaging 26.0 points per game in Darnold’s five starts.
The Saints also rank 19th in DVOA against the run, which doesn’t bode well when facing a Panthers offense that has piled up 160-plus rushing yards in six of their past 10 games, including three efforts of 220-plus.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers’ banged up secondary won’t hurt them as much against the Saints’ low-volume pass offense, as it did against Tom Brady last week. Andy Dalton hasn’t cracked 30 pass attempts since Week 8 and has topped 260 passing yards just once this season.
The Saints have been hot, covering in two straight and four of their last six, but according to our Action Labs data, it has been profitable to fade teams in this spot. Since 2004, divisional home favorites that have covered in at least four of their past six games are just 49-76-6 (39%) ATS.
John Harbaugh made it known he thought Edwards should have gotten more opportunities last week. Now, lead back J.K. Dobbins is getting a head start on the playoffs and sitting out this week.
Even against a good run defense, Edwards should get here on volume alone. Excluding kneel-downs, Greg Roman has dialed up a designed rush attempt on 53% of Baltimore’s plays over the past four weeks with Lamar Jackson out, and the team is averaging 33.0 carries for 179.3 rushing yards over that span.
Edwards has posted at least 52 rushing yards in six of his eight games this season, including three of the past four with Dobbins active. Based on Dobbins’ usage over the past four weeks, his absence opens up over 14 carries. Edwards was averaging only 8.5 carries per game over that span but has carried 16 times on two occasions, both of which came with Dobbins out.
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