Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Water is wet, the sky is blue, and in prime time games at home the New Orleans Saints beat opponents like a drum. The script did not change against the Carolina Panthers Sunday night as the Saints won 31-13.
The Saints took control of the NFC South with the familiar script in 2013; Drew Brees' arm gets the lead and a suffocating defense keeps it.
Brees was 30 of 42 for 313 yards and four touchdowns. He was brilliant and the Saints receivers bounced back from a horrible game in Seattle. Marques Colston had 125 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Moore had his best game in a long time with three catches. I said on Friday that while the Saints receivers struggle against elite secondaries they can still do well against mediocre ones like Carolina.
*I would like to pat myself on the back for predicting the exact score and exactly how the game would go.
They did better than well as Saints receivers caught 15 balls. I know the stats say Carolina has a top two defense but it's their front seven that makes them great and not the secondary. Drew Brees had all day to throw until the Panthers got desperate and started rushing six and seven defenders.
Everyone has a theory as to why the Saints have struggled on the road this year. Some say it's the weather or that they can't run the ball or maybe their room service isn't good? Never under estimate the importance of good catering. My theory about why the Saints struggle on the road is simple; the offensive line is great at home and a mess on the road.
Why? I don't know, I'm not a coach. I just know it's true. The good news is if Sean Payton can squeeze a good performance from Drew Brees' bodyguards in St. Louis a bye week in the playoffs will be in reach.
While the offense continued to roll up points at home the defense continued sacking quarterbacks.
Rob Ryan's crew had five sacks of Cam Newton with Junior Galette collecting three. The Saints defense struggled on third down early but held Carolina to two field goals. Carolina broke one of my favorite rules of football; if you dominate the game you better dominate the scoreboard. They led 6-0 but should have had more.
While the Saints pass rush will get all the headlines the Saints secondary was maybe even better. Cam Newton didn't have a completion over 17 yards and the busted coverages in Seattle were just a bad night like Rob Ryan promised everyone they were.
Corey White has gotten better every week since replacing an injured Jabari Greer. Malcolm Jenkins had six solo tackles including one for a loss. The only real concern on defense is they have only created two turnovers in the last six weeks. If you want to be negative you say it's a problem, if you want to be positive you say they are due for a bunch to happen.
The Saints moved to 7-0 at home and are one home win away from having their second perfect home record in three years. The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC might go through Seattle but if the Saints win two of their next three games the road to Seattle goes through New Orleans.
The disaster in Seattle might mean the national media will dismiss the Saints Super Bowl chances but Sunday night showed the Saints are firmly in control to get a second swing at the Seahawks.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at email@example.com, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.