The New Orleans Saints are scheduled to play a week 17 matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, December 30. Since the Saints have already clinched the number one playoff seed in the NFC, the team has decided to rest their star quarterback, Drew Brees, and hand the keys to this explosive offense off to their backup, Teddy Bridgewater. Many Saints fans are excited to see how Bridgewater performs because of the possibility that he could be the quarterback to succeed Brees once he does retire. Because this game is such an interesting one, I decided to take a glimpse into the future using Madden NFL 19’s simulation feature. Here’s a recap of how the matchup unfolded.
After the Panthers scored a field goal on their opening drive, the Saints’ dynamic offense went to work as running back Alvin Kamara rattled off a 75-yard touchdown. The Panthers answered right back when their young running back Christian McCaffrey scored on a 3-yard run. To close out the first quarter, Teddy Bridgewater showed the fans what they came to see as he connected with wide receiver Austin Carr for a 39-yard touchdown.
In the second quarter, the Panthers got things started with another field goal. However, their defense could not slow down Bridgewater and the Saints’ offense as wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith snagged a 35-yard pass for another score. The Panthers responded quickly as quarterback Kyle Allen threw a 20-yard touchdown to tight end Ian Thomas, yet Bridgewater did not want to end the half that way. He led the Saints down the field, setting up kicker Will Lutz with a 42-yard field goal which he successfully made.
The third quarter started rough as Bridgewater threw his only interception of the day to Panthers’ cornerback James Bradberry. Both teams found it difficult to score in the third quarter. The only points came courtesy of another Lutz field goal, this time from 41 yards away, which proves that kickers are people too.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers were unable to score another touchdown as they were only able to muster a 21-yard field goal. The Saints, on the other hand, had no trouble scoring as they were able to add another Will Lutz field goal and a 24-yard touchdown from Bridgewater to Kamara.
Bridgewater provided a spectacular audition tape as the Saints defeated the Panthers by a score of 37 to 23. He finished the game completing 28 out of 43 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Kamara led the team on the ground with 121 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown while also adding 64 receiving yards and another score through the air. Wide receivers Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith gained 115 and 118 yards respectively while Smith also added a touchdown. Defensive end Cameron Jordan led the defense as he added another 1.5 sacks to his season total and kicker Will Lutz was perfect in the game, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts.
Although this was a virtual representation of how this game could play out on Sunday, Saints fans are surely happy to see that Bridgewater can step up and perform at a high level.