CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The New Orleans Saints have plenty of playmakers at wide receiver including Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed.
That will be a challenge for a Carolina secondary without its top cornerback in Jaycee Horn, who is out with a hamstring injury.
C.J. Henderson, who has been known to give up deep passes, will replace Horn in the starting lineup.
That could present some big opportunities for Olave, Thomas and Shaheed. Olave didn’t miss a beat to open his second NFL season, catching eight passes for 112 yards against the Titans in Week 1. Shaheed had 89 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Thomas had five catches for 61 yards.
NEW ORLEANS (1-0) at CAROLINA (0-1)
Monday, 7:15 p.m. EDT ESPN
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Saints by 3
AGAINST THE SPREAD: New Orleans 1-0; Carolina 0-1
SERIES RECORD: Saints lead 29-28
LAST MEETING: Panthers beat Saints 10-7 on Jan. 8.
LAST WEEK: Saints beat Titans 16-15; Panthers lost to Falcons 24-10
SAINTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (8), RUSH (28), PASS (5), SCORING (T-22).
SAINTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (20), PASS (15), SCORING (7).
PANTHERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (5), PASS (26), SCORING (28).
PANTHERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (27), PASS (3), SCORING (T-22).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Saints plus-1; Panthers minus-3.
SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Chris Olave continues to emerge as one of the league’s better young receivers. Despite working with a new QB in Derek Carr, Olave didn’t miss a beat to open his second NFL season catching eight passes for 112 yards against the Titans in Week 1. On Monday night he faces a Carolina defense without its top cornerback in Jaycee Horn. Horn is out with a hamstring injury, which could present opportunities for not only Olave, but also Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed. Horn’s replacement will be C.J. Henderson, who has shown a tendency to give up big plays downfield. Shaheed had 89 yards receiving and a touchdown in the opener, while Thomas added five catches for 61 yards.
PANTHERS PLAYER TO WATCH: Panthers QB Bryce Young threw two interceptions in his NFL debut on the road against the Falcons, but the No. 1 overall pick will look to rebound against one of the league’s stingier defenses. Young showed an ability to escape pressure with his feet in the opener, but struggled getting the ball downfield. Carolina’s longest pass play went for 14 yards and coach Frank Reich wants more chunk plays in Week 2.
KEY MATCHUP: Panthers guards Chandler Zavala and Cade Mays vs. Saints defensive line. Panthers starting guards Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen are both on injured reserve, so the team has been pressed into starting a pair of young players in Zavala and Mays. Zavala is a rookie making his second NFL start, while Mays in his second season but only started two games as a rookie.
KEY INJURIES: The Panthers are hoping to get WR DJ Chark back after his missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Chark is considered Carolina’s best deep threat, and could allow the team to push the ball down the field more. If healthy, Chark would start opposite Adam Thielen.
SERIES NOTES: The Panthers have won three of the past four meetings and can even the overall series with a win.
STATS AND STUFF: QB Derek Carr had his 34th 300-yard game of his career last week. … Olave is coming off his fourth game with at least 100 yards receiving. … Olave had career highs in catches (nine) and yards receiving (147) in his previous game in Carolina. … WR Michael Thomas has 531 receptions in 74 games and can pass Anquan Boldin (531) & Julio Jones (531) for most receptions by player in his first 85 games. … Thomas has caught at least 10 passes for 120 or more yards receiving in each of his past two Monday night games. … WR Rashid Shaheed had a career-high 100 scrimmage yards (89 receiving, 11 rushing) and his third career TD catch last week. … DE Cameron Jordan has 4 1/2 sacks in his past three games against Carolina… LB Demario Davis led the Saints with 10 tackles and had a tackle for loss last week. … DE Carl Granderson had 1 1/2 sacks in Week 1. … CB Marshon Lattimore had league-high four passes defensed and his 15th INT in Week 1. … S Marcus Maye had his seventh career INT last week. The most recent time the Panthers had a Monday night game in their home opener was 2004 against the Green Bay Packers. … QB Bryce Young was 20 of 38 for 146 yards with one touchdown in two interceptions in his NFL debut last Sunday. … RB Miles Sanders had 98 yards on 22 touches in his debut with the Panthers in Week 1. … WR Adam Theilen had just two catches for 12 yards in his first game with the Panthers. … Carolina had four sacks against Atlanta, all coming in the first half. … The Panthers defense allowed the Falcons to convert just 2 of 10 third down conversions. … Carolina’s three turnovers last week led to 17 Falcons points.
FANTASY TIP: Panthers TE Hayden Hurst could be a sneaky good pick based on his production in training camp and in Week 1. Hurst scored Carolina’s only touchdown vs. Atlanta and was targeted a team-high seven times and finished with 41 yards on five receptions. He is clearly developing into Bryce Young’s top choice in the red zone.
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