KEYS TO THE GAME: The Saints have to play better pass defense than they have during the first two games if they are going to have a chance.
The Saints also were effective running the ball, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, including a 25-yard touchdown run by rookie Alvin Kamara in the fourth quarter. Newton's day ended on a passing record of 17/27 for 167 yards and three interceptions. "But I'm not feeling confident, not at all".
Still, the Panthers' new-look offense isn't producing with its sore-armed QB.
"We showed that we can be a great defense", said Saints linebacker A.J. Klein.
The Carolina Panthers are unbeaten, thanks to its top-ranked defense, which is showing the form that helped propel the team to the Super Bowl in 2016.
Truth be told, Newton is not himself entering Week 3, almost six months after undergoing surgery to fix a partially torn rotator cuff in his right throwing shoulder. The Saints defense continues to struggle, as it gave up a ton of points in Week 1 to the Minnesota Vikings and at home in Week 2 versus the New England Patriots. Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. Cam Newton threw for 228 yards on 20 of 32 passing, while Jonathan Stewart led Carolina's ground attack, rushing for a team-high 40 yards with his 15 carries.
Even if the Saints defense somehow keeps the game in the 20s, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his offense must outplay the NFL's No. 1-ranked scoring defense (6.0 ppg) which has yet to yield a touchdown. Newton entered the game with 19 career touchdown passes and seven interceptions against the Saints.
Newton, who played his college football at Auburn University, was originally selected by the Panthers with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. The associated moneylines for this game are Carolina -245 and New Orleans +205.
This could be a historic game for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton had been limited at practice during the week after hurting his ankle during the Panthers' Week 2 win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. "He's just so smart", says Panther cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.