Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/13/12

The Saints got flat out run over by rookie sensation RGIII last week.

The Panthers couldn't move the ball against a suddenly stout Tampa Bay defense.

One team is going to get redemption this week, so both teams are going to come out swinging.

Carolina's leading rusher is Kealoha Pilares, a name no one expected.  He has five yards on one attempt against last year's worst run defense- Tampa allowed 2,497 yards on 498 attempts.  Only the Raiders allowed more yards per carry.  That run defense only allowed 10 yards on 13 attempts, even including Cam Newton.

What killed the Panthers last week was that Jonathan Stewart sat out with an ankle injury.  He has always been the speedier of the two backs, setting things up for DeAngelo Williams to play "thunder" and run defenders into the ground.  Without that setup, the Buccaneers were free to swarm the ball and try to bring the man down, without worrying about creating an open cutback lane.

However, Jonathan Stewart is back in practice, and will likely play this weekend.  This makes the offense more dangerous, and forces the defense to respect the potential for speed on the field.  This should mean that...

The Carolina Panthers will gain 15 times the rushing yards they gained last week (150 instead of 10).

While the Panthers are facing the toughest passing game in the NFL, their best weapon on offense is their run game (closely followed by Steve Smith).  Even if they are down, they should be running the ball often.  Besides, it's not impossible for four different guys (counting Tolbert and Newton) to combine for 150 yards, especially if three of them are rotating in and out and the fourth has plays where he doesn't have to run.

Of course, the game is not won by offense alone.  The Panthers defense will be a big key in trying to beat the Saints.  I believe that a strong defensive performance by the Redskins is a big reason they beat the Saints (who had only scored 17 points prior to 6:19 left in the game- a terrible game by Saints standards).

Luke Keuchley will have 8 tackles, 2 of them for a loss.

He's young, but he is smart and fast.  Expect him to spot Darren Sproles sliding into the flat multiple times, and making a play for the ball, just as London Fletcher did multiple times this past week.  He should also be able to sniff out run and screen plays, hence the tackles for a loss.

However, he does not change the Panthers defense into a great defense, just as the Saints defense has never been great (no disrespect to RGIII, but he may very well have led his team to 40 points partly because of the weaknesses he faced).  The Panthers do have a much stronger offense than last week suggests, especially with Stewart possibly coming back, which is why...

These two teams will combine to score 70+ points this week.

It's Drew Brees and Cam Newton, each with a stable of good, possibly great, running backs.  Any game between these two teams is going to end in a shootout, at least until their defenses get a little more attention from their coaches and GMs.

At the end of the day, when Brees has time in the pocket, he is just too good.  Cam Newton will be outgunned once again- although he could put up some highlight plays in this one.  

The Saints will get the win, 45-33.

The author thoroughly enjoyed watching the Saints game when he finally had a chance to catch it on NFL Replay.  He just wishes they didn't skip so many sequences- it is NOT ok to just post a graphic saying "3 possessions later."  Those possessions are important!

You can catch or cause any future frustrations he may have (or collect 20 "Whose Line Is It Anyway" points because you named the team on his hat) on Twitter (@RGDSports) or Facebook (RGDSports@yahoo.com).



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