The New Orleans Saints are coming off a narrow 16-15 win over the Tennessee Titans in week one.
For week two, the Black and Gold will travel to Charlotte for an early Monday Night Football divisional matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
Since the retirement of Drew Brees at the end of the 2020-2021 season, the Carolina Panthers have won three out of the last four games between one another. The lone win came in week 17 of the 2021 season when the Saints beat the Panthers 18-10 and Taysom Hill was the starting quarterback for New Orleans.
Despite the recent woes against the Carolina, New Orleans still leads the series all-time 29-28 with the Saints being 14-14 on the road.
STRUGGLES VS ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS
Fans of the Saints have noted New Orleans having a reputation for not putting their best foot forward against rookie quarterbacks in recent years.
In 2012, Robert Griffin III started his career playing against the Black and Gold defense and torched them as he went 19-26 for 320 yards and a couple of touchdown passes and carried the ball nine times for 42 yards in a 40-32 win over the Saints.
Another game was against Jalen Hurts in 2020 when he ran for 106 yards and passed for 146 yards in a 24-21 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia. That contest ended the Saints’ 55-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher.
Another time they’ve lost to a rookie signal caller was last season to Pittsburgh Steelers’ Kenny Pickett. Even with these recent struggles trying to contain rookies, the franchise since 2017 has a 15-6 record against the younger quarterbacks. Some of those wins are against Justin Herbert on Monday Night Football, twice last year against Desmond Ridder, in 2021 versus Zach Wilson, and in 2019 when Kyler Murray visited the dome.
SAINTS OFFENSIVE LINE HOLDING UP
It wasn’t the best performance for the Saints’ offensive line last Sunday versus the Tennessee Titans as Derek Carr was sacked four times and was pressured on 51% of his dropbacks in the contest. Trevor Penning made his second career start in that game and was responsible for most of the sacks given up.
After going up against one of the better defensive lines in the league, New Orleans will have another test in the trenches on Monday night. Brian Burns is the headliner for the Panthers and he proved it last week with two of the team’s four sacks against Atlanta. Interior defensive lineman Derrick Brown had one sack himself as well as eight solo tackles with two being for a loss.
SECONDARY STEPPING UP
The New Orleans secondary took advantage of Ryan Tannehill as they intercepted three of his passes and held the Titans quarterback to a completion percentage of under 50 and less than 200 yards passing.
Bryce Young in his first career start completed only 20 of 38 pass attempts for 146 yards and one touchdown. He was also picked off twice by veteran safety Jessie Bates III and the Panthers’ receiver room caught just eight passes for 68 yards.
Carolina’s offensive line didn’t have a stellar performance either as they gave up a couple of sacks. Combining the bad line play and an underwhelming receiver core led by a 33-year-old Adam Thielen could make for the perfect opportunity for New Orleans to force the rookie signal caller to turn the ball over and have another bad start and a Saints win, which would be the first time the Black and Gold would begin a season 2-0 since 2013.
Notable injuries in this game for the Saints are defensive lineman Payton Turner, who went on IR for turf toe. Running back Kendre Miller, safety J.T. Gray, and Juwan Johnson were limited in practices throughout the week and are questionable.
On the Panthers’ side, cornerback Jaycee Horn and offensive guard Brady Christiensen were placed on IR while wide receiver D.J. Chark and offensive tackle Taylor Moton are questionable being limited in practices.
Derek Carr: 23-33, 305 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jamaal Williams: 18 carries, 45 yards
Chris Olave: 8 catches, 112 yards
Carl Granderson: 1.5 sacks
Demario Davis: 10 tackles (9 solo), 1 TFL
Blake Grupe: 3-of-3 field goals, Long of 52
Bryce Young: 20-38, 146 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Miles Sanders: 18 carries, 72 yards
Hayden Hurst: 5 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD
Brian Burns: 1.5 sacks
Derrick Brown: 9 tackles (8 solo)
Eddy Peniero: 1-of-1 field goals, Long of 43
Pregame will be at 6 p.m. with kickoff shortly after at 6:15 p.m. and the action can be heard on ESPN 103.7 Lafayette and 104.1 Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana’s Sports Station.