Week 16 NFL Picks: Saints at Panthers

Greg Dempson’s free plays at Pick Sixty have posted a winning record in baseball, hockey, NFL preseason and regular season and this week his free prediction looks at the side for New Orleans vs. Carolina

The odds for this divisional rematch opened at Carolina -3 and 46 but the gameday weather is calling for likelihood of showers and wind between 10-15 mph. That’s not usually a good recipe for dome teams and thus the current total is down to 44/44.5 with juice inching up on the side. William Hill still offers this game at Panthers -3 (-110).


In their loss at New Orleans, the Carolina Panthers played their worst game of the season. QB Cam Newton was sacked five times on third down plays, the most of any quarterback this season. Newton’s been sacked a league high 28 times on the road but just 10 times in seven home games.  Big plays have been a much more common occurrence for Newton at home. He’s averaged 8.36 yards per attempt in Charlotte with 12 plays of 25 or more yards.


[quote_text color=”#000000″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Cam Newton has averaged 9.35 yards per attempt, hit five plays of 25 yards or more and accounted for five total touchdowns while going 1-1 at home against New Orleans.[/quote_text]


Newton scrambled for 71 yards against the Saints last season at home and it won’t be a surprise to see Carolina attack New Orleans on the ground. The Panthers have averaged 179 yards rushing – 5.7 yards per carry – in their past 10 games against the Saints, but only ran 13 times after the first quarter in the first meeting. Since an opening loss in Week 1 at home vs. Seattle, the Panthers have won six-straight by an average of 18.7 points. Expect a strong dose of the run game in this 1:00 ET kick-off.


In their game two weeks ago, Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns vs. the Panthers, bringing his totals at home to an NFC-best 23 TDs, an NFL-best 73.2 completion percentage and a 122.5 passer rating. It is a different story when Brees is on the road and his numbers drop significantly. Brees completes just 63-percent for an average of 6.9 yards per attempt, nearly two fewer than at home, with an 86.3 QB rating while throwing seven of his 10 interceptions. The Saints average 32.9 points at the Superdome vs. 18.4 on the road – 27th in the league. Since the Panthers began play in 1995 they have always been excellent at home in the second half of the season vs. teams that average 375 or more yards per game, as Carolina has gone 10–1 ATS. I like the Panthers at –3 as a 3 star selection.

Pick: Take the Panthers


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