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New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers: Watch Live Stream Online for Free; Preview

By Melissa Siegel - Posted: 09/15/12 09:04PM EDT
Cam Newton

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers face off against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. (Photo: Reuters)

Two high-powered offenses that disappointed in week one go head-to-head on Sunday as the New Orleans Saints face the Carolina Panthers. The game will be broadcast on FOX at 1 p.m. in certain markets, and you can also watch a live stream online for free here.

The Saints played their first game of the season without Sean Payton last week as their coach serves a year-long suspension for his role in the team's bounty scandal. Without him, the team looked a bit out of sorts on offense.

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The receivers struggled to make plays, and quarterback Drew Brees completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes. The running game barely even got going, as the Saints attempted just 10 rushes that gained a total of 32 yards.

The defense, which finished 24th in the league in yards allowed last season, did not play much better. The team struggled to contain rookie sensation Robert Griffin III, who passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns while completing 73 percent of his passes.

The Saints thought they would get an emotional boost from defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, whose bounty-related suspensions were temporarily overturned last week. Vilma is still recovering from offseason knee surgery but led the squad in a pregame chant. Still, the squad could not overcome RGIII-mania.

Now the Saints must face last year's version of Robert Griffin III on the road.

That player is Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2011. Newton completed over 60 percent of his passes last season while throwing 21 touchdowns and rushing for 14 more.

But Newton and the rest of the Panthers offense was shut down last week by the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs, led by first-year head coach Greg Schiano, held the Panthers to 10 yards rushing and forced two Newton interceptions. The running game will be boosted by the likely return of back Jonathan Stewart, who missed the season opener with an ankle injury.

The much-maligned Panther defense, however, looked pretty decent. Carolina allowed the fifth-most yards in the league last season and gave up nearly 27 points per game. But the unit allowed just 16 points and 138 yards passing to a decent Tampa Bay offense.

The Panthers will have a much bigger challenge this week against the high-flying Saints offense. But, the Saints could struggle to contain Newton after Griffin gave them fits last week. While Newton rushed for just 59 yards in two games against the Saints last season, the Saints still had coach Payton for those games. 

After their debacle last week, the Panthers will also look to get the ground game going against New Orleans. The Saints gave up nearly 100 yards on the ground to unheralded rookie Alfred Morris last week, and Carolina coach Ron Rivera knows that the team is most successful when it runs the ball.

But New Orleans will be angry and desperate after its week one loss, and overall the Saints are the more talented team. They should pull it together on offense, while their defense will do just enough to stop the Panthers in a likely shootout.

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