The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers will meet up in an NFC South matchup that is both the first division game for the Saints and the home opener for Bryce Young and the Panthers.
While New Orleans is a regular on Monday night, Carolina hasn’t played on MNF since 2018, when they faced these same Saints and lost 12-9 in Week 15. In fact, that’s the only time the Panthers have played on Monday since they lost to Tampa Bay in Week 5 of 2016.
So what’s up for this matchup? Let’s go through the trends, series history, referees assigned to the game, weather forecast, lines and odds to find out. We’ll also give you other info you might be interested in such as uniforms and the starting quarterbacks numbers against their opponent. (Well, we’ll give you Derek Carr’s info vs. the Panthers since this is just Young’s second NFL start.)
TIME/TV: Monday at 6:15 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with an announcing team of Chris Fowler, Dan Orlovsky and Louis Riddick. The WWL radio team is Mike Hoss and Deuce McAllister.
LINE TREND: The line at Caesars Sportsbook has remained mostly steady throughout the week. Although it briefly opened at Saints -3.5, it quickly moved to -3 and still was there late Sunday. The money line for New Orleans is -160 and is +135 for Carolina. The over/under total is 39.5. What did I pick in this one? Check out my NFL Week 2 picks column to find out.
WEATHER FORECAST: Nearly perfect. It should be around 79 degrees at game time and drop to about 70 before the night is over. It is expected to be clear with little to no wind in Charlotte.
UNIFORMS: The Saints will be wearing all black, including their home black jerseys with gold numbers and solid black pants. They will don their traditional gold helmets with the fleur-de-lis and wear black socks.
Conversely, the Panthers will wear all white, including jerseys with black numbers outlined in “Carolina blue” and white pants and white socks. They will wear their standard silver helmets with the trademarked panther in the middle on both sides.
REFEREE: Scott Novak is the lead official and has been in that role since 2019. New Orleans is 2-2 all time when he officiates their games, while Carolina is 1-1.
TEAM INFO, STREAKS
SAINTS (1-0, first road game)
The Saints are ranked eighth in the NFL in overall offense (yards gained per game) and 22nd in points scored. They are 28th in rushing offense and fifth in passing. … The team is 16th in overall defense and seventh in points allowed. They are 19th against the run and 15th against the pass.
New Orleans has not been very successful as of late in Week 2, winning just once since 2013 (at home vs. Cleveland in 2018). The team also has a chance to be 2-0 for the first time in 10 years when they opened 5-0 in 2013.
This is the third consecutive season the Saints are playing their second game against a division opponent and the fourth straight year they have played at least one division game in their first two weeks.
Even during some of the great Sean Payton years, early road games haven’t been kind to the Saints. In fact, the team has won just three times in their road opener over the past 12 seasons.
This is the second time in four seasons Derek Carr’s road opener will be in Charlotte, as he won there, 34-30, in Week 1 of 2020 when he played for the Las Vegas Raiders.
PANTHERS (0-1, first home game)
Carolina is ranked 18th in the NFL in overall offense (yards gained per game) and 28th in points scored. They are sixth in rushing offense and 26th in passing. … They are fifth in the NFL in overall defense and 20th in points allowed. The Panthers are 26th against the run and third against the pass.
The Panthers have lost three of their past four home openers, but they had won five in a row prior to that. This is the first time since 2019 they will open their home slate against a team from the NFC and first time in 11 years they will play their first home game against a division opponent, as they defeated the Saints, 35-27, in 2012.
In that 2012 game, each starting quarterback accounted for more than 300 yards of offense. Drew Brees passed for 325 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Cam Newton passed for 253 yards with a TD and no INTs and had 71 yards rushing with another score.
SAINTS vs. PANTHERS SERIES
All-time: The Saints lead the overall series, 29-28, dating back to the first game on Oct. 22, 1995, which was won by the Panthers, 20-3. However, in the regular series, each team has won 28 times. New Orleans won the only playoff meeting, 31-26, in a wild-card game following the 2017 season.
Last meeting: Carolina won, 10-3, in last year’s season finale on Jan. 8, in the Caesars Superdome. The Saints also lost, 22-14, in the first meeting of the season on Sept. 25, 2022.
All-time in Charlotte: Series is tied at 14. The Panthers have won two in a row after losing four straight.
All-time in New Orleans: Series is tied at 14.
SERIES BY THE NUMBERS
.003: The difference in all-time winning percentage for the two teams. Carolina is at .471 in 451 all-time games, while New Orleans is at .468 for their 869 games.
327: The difference in rushing yards between the two games in their 56 regular-season games played against one another. The Panthers have rushed for 6,780 yards (121.1 per game) vs. the Saints, while New Orleans has gone for 6,453 (115.2) against their NFC South rival.
3: The longest winning streak for the Panthers in this series (2014-15) the past 16 years. They can match that with a win Monday night. The longest overall streak for Carolina vs. New Orleans is four, and they did that twice – 2005-07 and 2002-04.
46: Number of points the Saints have scored in four games this series (an average of 11.5) since Drew Brees retired at the end of the 2020 season. New Orleans’ all-time best streak in the series is five (2000-02).
MEMORABLE GAMES IN THE SERIES
(WAY too many to mention.)
Nov. 24, 2019, in New Orleans (Saints 34, Panthers 31): Drew Brees (30-of-39 for 311 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) was nearly perfect, and he had to be in a wild one in the Superdome that saw the Saints move to 9-2. New Orleans took an early 14-0 lead, but Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers fought back and tied the score at 31 with 9:23 to go.
Then, Joey Slye missed a 28-yard field goal with 2 minutes left and Carolina failed to score on a 13-play drive. The Saints capitalized, as Brees completed five passes combined to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, and Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired for the win.
Jan. 7, 2018, in New Orleans (Saints 31, Panthers 26): In the only playoff game between the two, the Saints led big at halftime (21-9) and then held on for dear life as Cam Newton came on strong and passed for 349 yards with a 105.1 passer rating. McCaffrey and tight end Greg Olsen combined for 208 yards receiving with a touchdown each, but Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn were better – combining for 246 yards receiving.
The Saints defense came up big on the final drive, as Newton drove his team to the 21 with 46 seconds left, but he took an intentional grounding penalty and then was sacked by Vonn Bell on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs.
New Orleans went on to lose the following week in the divisional round in Minnesota in the game known as “The Minneapolis Miracle.”
Oct. 16, 2016 in New Orleans (Saints 41, Panthers 38): New Orleans opened a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, which included an 87-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks. But Cam Newton led the Panthers back to a 38-38 tie with less than 3 minutes remaining.
That was way too much time for Brees, as he was 8-of-9 on the game-winning drive that ended with a 52-yard field goal by Lutz.
QUARTERBACKS IN THE SERIES
BRYCE YOUNG has never faced NEW ORLEANS
DEREK CARR is 2-0 vs. CAROLINA (all games with Raiders)
Sept. 13, 2020: W, 34-30. 22-30, 239 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.
Nov. 27, 2016: W, 35-32. 26-38, 315 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT.
TOTALS: 48-of-68 (.706 completion percentage), 554 yards (277 per game), 3 TD, 1 INT.