This week's maps: 506sports
I don't love picking New Orleans away from home (they're 0-4 outside of the Superdome), and I don't love taking the visiting team on a short week, but there's a good reason to go against the home team this week: the Saints are a much better team.
The Saints run the ball well (5.1 ypc), and defend the run well (4.0 ypc against). The Panthers run the ball poorly (3.5 ypc) and defend the run terribly (5.2 ypc against). New Orleans' big weakness (pass defense, 7.9 ypa against) isn't something the Panthers will be able to consistently take advantage of.
While the Saints just break even on big plays (39 for, 38 against), the Panthers are hopeless in this regard (26 for, 43 against). So why are these two teams joined at the hip, record-wise? Turnovers. The Saints are -6 on the season and Carolina is +4. Unfortunately for the Panthers, turnovers are notoriously difficult to predict.
2014 Midweek Picks: 6-2