NFL Picks for Saints vs. Panthers

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 2:01 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 2:01 PM GMT

A lot is at stake when Carolina and New Orleans meet up at Bank of America Stadium in Week 16. Who's getting our NFL picks recommendation this Sunday?

Odds Overview

In Week 14's meeting between these teams, the Saints were favored by a field goal. The roles are reversed this Sunday, as now it's the Panthers that are giving away the three points. The O/U has seemingly settled in and around 47 on the NFL odds.

Both teams are standing at 10-4 SU for the year, with Carolina performing better at 8-5 ATS and New Orleans at 7-7 ATS.

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New Orleans Saints

Favored by 6.5 points for a road game in St. Louis, the Saints couldn't get anything going offensively and wound up losing 27-16. It was a horrible follow-up to an impressive 31-13 win the week prior over the Panthers.

By the time New Orleans was moving the ball, it was too late. The Rams held Drew Brees and company to a measly three points through three quarters.

Most of his yardage came in garbage time, but Brees finished with a 393 passing yards while throwing one pick and running for another. He made his fair share of mistakes though, including two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Defensively, the Saints had trouble stopping Zac Stacy and they also made look Kellen Clemens look like a Pro Bowl quarterback – he hit on 14-of-20 passes for an efficient 158 yards and two touchdowns.

Obviously Sean Payton's team needs to do a heck of a lot better on both sides of the ball this Sunday. If they show up and lack intensity in Carolina, they risk getting embarrassed, especially since the Panthers will be out for retribution.

Carolina Panthers

It was a nice bounce-back for the Panthers after the loss to New Orleans, as they took care of the Jets in a 30-20 win.

Cam Newton made quick work of New York, completing 16-of-24 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. Greg Olsen and DeAngelo Williams totaled 175 yards and a score between them, with Williams adding 81 rushing yards on 15 attempts.

It's wild to think back to early in the year when most everyone was writing off the Panthers. They started off 1-3 but are now tied for the division lead. And, at 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS over their last 10, the Panthers have been making tons of money for those that have been loyal backers.

A stingy defense has been the catalyst for the turnaround. Carolina is ranked second in total defense, having allowed only 296.3 total yards per game ahead of Week 15.

After seeing St. Louis stifle the mighty Drew Brees, one has to wonder if the Panthers can do even better in that respect this weekend.

NFL Pick

The Panthers surely still have a bitter taste in their mouths from that Week 14 blowout loss at the Superdome. We're thinking they return the favor at home this weekend.

Carolina has been great in the front of their fans, going 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS. They've beaten New England, St. Louis, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and both New York teams, with their solitary loss coming against an elite Seattle team.

On the other side, you've got the Saints, who've been shaky at best outside of New Orleans, having gone 3-4 SU and a terrible 1-6 ATS in seven road games. Their three victories came over Tampa Bay, Chicago and Atlanta.

When push comes to shove, we're going to take the home team in this rivalry game. The Panthers will come out fired up and should make enough plays on both sides of the ball to get the win for our NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Panthers -3

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