I know the Saints aren’t starting Drew Brees, and who knows who else they are leaving in the locker room, on the bench, at home, etc., but I still expect them to compete for a win. New Orleans is loaded with position players, and they have enough difference makers that will be playing a lot of the game that I like them as a 8.5 point underdog against the Panthers.
You have to remember, while the Panthers’ passing attack has been solid over the last few weeks, the heart and soul of that attack is out with a broken arm, and the Panthers are still missing plenty of players that will make a big win tough against New Orleans, even if the Saints are playing a meaningless game after all.
After going 13-0, the Saints have lost 2 straight, and have a chance to go into the playoffs riding their only losing streak of the year – and while that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen, you know New Orleans would like to notch out a win to get back on the right track.
When it comes right down to it, I think Mark Brunell knows enough and is good enough to keep the Saints in the game, and when you’re talking about an 8.5 point spread, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. The Saints have been solid all season long, and a Panthers team that also has nothing to play for doesn’t scare me all that much.
New Orleans Saints (+8.5) @ Carolina Panthers