The Carolina Panthers fell flat when they needed a win the most — and were eliminated from playoff contention — in a 30-24 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 17, and the oddsmakers don’t have much confidence they can win their final game of the 2022 season as the Panthers are 4.5-point home underdogs against the Saints heading into Week 18, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under is currently set at 39 points.
The Panthers are 6-10 after losing to the Bucs and have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Saints are 7-9 after beating the Eagles yesterday, but they are also eliminated from playoff contention. As a result, this game will be played for nothing more than the good feelings from beating a divisional rival.
The Saints have won three of their last four games and are hoping to ensure they finish in second place in the NFC south, and the Panthers are really only playing for pride at this point. While some would argue they should lose to improve their draft position, I’m confident that Steve Wilks does not agree and will try his best to inspire the Panthers to win and finish 7-10 on the year.
The Panthers won the first meeting between the two teams in a 22-14 victory in Week 3, so if Carolina can play Sunday’s game the same way they played the first time these two teams met, the Panthers will salvage an awful 1-5 start to finish 7-10 and give David Tepper more valid reasons* to hire Wilks as the full time head coach for 2023.
This week’s odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook, where you can also find the odds for every NFL game.
*- If you ask me, Wilks should get the job. He’s demonstrated that he can win with the same players that Matt Rhule had, and the team has bought into his philosophy. The Panthers should give Wilks a chance to coach with a roster that he has a part in building over the offseason with a good quarterback so he has an actual chance to do something.