What a difference a year has made.
The good news is Carolina will have Cam Newton and running back Jonathan Stewart back for Sunday’s game against the Saints in New Orleans. Newton missed Week 5 after suffering a concussion against the Falcons in the previous game, while Stewart (hamstring) has been out for 3 weeks. The Panthers fell to the Buccaneers 17-14 on a last-second field goal on Monday Night Football in Week 4. They’ve lost 3 straight to go to 1-4.
The Saints (1-3) are coming off a bye, but picked up their first win of the season in Week 4, a 35-34 victory over the Chargers in San Diego.
So far 2016 has been a typical New Orleans season — a shaky defense and a high-scoring offense led behind the right arm of quarterback Drew Brees.
Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the game will be televised by FOX.
Here’s a complete look at all the betting info you need to know, as well as a prediction of the Week 6 game:
Saints vs. Panthers Week 6 Betting Info
Note: All odds and numbers courtesy of OddsShark.com and are updated as of October 15
Spread: Panthers (-2.5)
Betting Percentages: 50-50
Betting Percentages: 69 percent on Over 53
Season Results: Saints 1-3 straight up; 2-2 against the spread; 3-1 for the OVER — Panthers 1-4 straight up; 1-4 against the spread; 3-2 for the OVER
Neither team has shown much interest in playing defense and I don’t see that changing Sunday afternoon in the Big Easy.
The Saints are dead-last in points allowed per game (32.5), while the Panthers are 23rd at 27.0 PPG. And offensively, both are top 10 scoring teams — New Orleans (28.5 PPG) and Carolina (24.6 PPG).
The teams have the OVER in 7 of the past 10 meetings and the Saints last 5 home games have gone OVER. I see a trend here. The OVER at 53 certainly looks attainable.
I think the difference in this game is going to be the return of Newton and Stewart. Stewart has roughed up the Saints in recent meetings (most backs do), scoring twice in 3 games. Expect Carolina to employ a heavy dose of J-Stew to control the clock and keep Brees and the high-flying New Orleans offense on the sidelines.
That’ll work to an extent, but Brees and Co. are guaranteed to put up some points.
But in the end, Newton and the Panthers will make more plays — both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball — and squeak one out on the road and pick up their 5th win in 6 games against the Saints.
The Pick: Panthers 33-31 (Panthers win straight up, Saints cover the spread, the OVER wins)