Panthers vs. Saints Odds, Picks, Predictions: Defenses Will Define NFC South Matchup In NFL Week 17

Panthers vs. Saints Odds, Picks, Predictions: Defenses Will Define NFC South Matchup In NFL Week 17 article feature image

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Saints DE Cameron Jordan

  • Based on the latest Panthers vs. Saints odds, where's the betting value on this NFC South showdown in NFL Week 17?
  • Our analyst makes his picks and predictions in the following preview, complete with an over/under bet.

Panthers vs. Saints Odds

Panthers Odds+6.5
Saints Odds-6.5
Time4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

After a hot 3-0 start to the season, the Panthers have fallen far with an ugly 2-10 run since.

Their playoff hopes are long gone and the offense has been flat and uninspiring, but this is a divisional matchup, and we saw early in the year how the Panthers can completely blank a healthy Saints offense. The opportunity to smash a rival's playoff hopes could be what sparks Carolina and reignites that early-season magic.

New Orleans, on the other hand, looks to be doing anything it can to stumble into the playoffs. Facing the Panthers and Falcons gives the Saints two winnable games, but when playing in division, anything can happen. Fortunately, the Saints are getting Taysom Hill back for this playoff push, so another 81-yard passing performance is hopefully out of the question. We'll see if New Orleans can continue leaning on its defense and make its way into the playoffs.

Let’s take a deeper dive and see if we can find an angle with value in this NFC South matchup.

Click the arrow to expand injury reports

Panthers vs. Saints Injury Report

Panthers Injuries

  • LB Jermaine Carter Jr. (groin): Questionable
  • CB CJ Henderson (knee): Questionable
  • S Juston Burris (groin): Questionable
  • OT Cam Erving (calf): Doubtful
  • S Sean Chandler (groin): Doubtful
  • CB Stephon Gilmore (groin): Out

Saints Injuries

  • WR Ty Montgomery (back): Questionable
  • WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey (illness): Questionable
  • OT Terron Armstead (Knee): Questionable
  • CB Bradley Roby (Shoulder): Questionable
  • DE Carl Granderson (rest/illness): Questionable
  • WR Tre'Quan Smith (chest): Out

Panthers vs. Saints Matchup

Panthers OffenseDVOA RankSaints Defense
Panthers DefenseDVOA RankSaints Offense
Football Outsiders' DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team's success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.

Panthers QB Position Has Doomed Team

The Panthers offense abruptly ran into a wall after their Week 4 loss to the Cowboys. The Panthers' problem has been pretty obvious, as they have shown no signs of a consistent passing attack since that game. Their four games with the highest passing yards are still their first four games of the season.

One obvious problem has been the quarterback play. Sam Darnold started the season strong, proving to Jets fans "its not me, it's you." Right as people started buying in, though, he fell off a cliff and has not posted a quarterback rating over 70 since Week 4.

Then, when Darnold was hurt, the pile of confusion that is the Cam Newton experiment began. This has been an awkward blend of rotating quarterbacks to let Newton run while playing someone else when a pass is needed. Now, we have to question just how the snap share will break down like it's a running-back committee.

However, with the level all three quarterbacks are playing at, the better question is: Does it matter?

While the offense looks to be in shambles, the defense remains respectable. It currently ranks first in yards allowed per drive and 12th in points allowed per drive. The discrepancy there likely comes thanks to their offensive struggles. The offense currently ranks 27th in turnovers committed and 30th in yards per drive. That has lead to the defense being put in the worst position, as Carolina ranks dead last in opponent starting field position per Pro Football Reference.

This defense has talent and can plays well, but the offense puts it in a bad position too often.

Saints Defense Can Carry the Load

The only conclusion that can be drawn from last week's Saints-Dolphins game is that fourth-string quarterbacks crater teams. I’m pretty sure everyone already knew that, though.

Looking at the other three games Taysom Hill has started, the results still aren’t pretty. The Saints' matchup against the Cowboys is the only game the Saints had a respectable passing yards total (252), but that came in garbage time. Against the Jets, the run game did everything. And against the Bucs, the defense carried load.

The Saints have a lot to prove before this passing attack demands a defense's respect.

With a limited passing game and mobile quarterback, the Saints will likely lean on their run game. Unfortunately, their tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead continue to struggle to get on the field. However, teams have found success rushing against the Panthers recently, as they have allowed 100+ rushing yards in each of their past five games.

If New Orleans replicates that success, there will be no need to throw the ball.

While the offense has struggled, the defense has been able to hold opposing offenses down. The Saints rank third in yards allowed per drive and fifth in points allowed per drive. Even better, they might be the best situational defense in the NFL. They currently rank seventh in third-down efficiency, fourth in fourth-down efficiency, and first in red-zone efficiency.

At its best, this defense held the Packers to three points and the Buccaneers to zero points. If the Saints do make the playoffs, their defense should make any opponent nervous.

Panthers vs. Saints Predictions

Trusting either of these teams is a major risk given the current state of their offenses. Rather than do so, we will turn to the total.

Both teams have struggled to throw in recent weeks and utilize their quarterbacks as running options. This heavy preference toward the ground game should keep the clock moving and shorten the game. Plus, with both teams following this style of offense, there is no need to fear one team getting a large lead and the other playing catchup.

The Saints' offense under Hill has only one game in which it broke 20 points. That came against the Jets and required a 44-yard touchdown run by Hill as the Saints were bleeding the clock. I'm with oddsmakers when they favor New Orleans, but a low-ceiling offense covering -6.5 is a stretch.

Trust the Saints and Panthers to run the ball and play good defense in this one.

Pick: Under 38 | Bet to: 37.5

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