It's a battle of 0-2 against 2-0, as the New Orleans Saints head on the road to take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

These are teams that had high expectations heading into the season. For one team, things haven't exactly gone to plan.

The Saints may have dodged a major bullet, as Drew Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it was said to not be a torn rotator cuff. Regardless of whether Brees plays, the Saints will look to do what no team facing Carolina has done, top 17 points.

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As for the Panthers and Cam Newton, it hasn't always been pretty, but they're getting the job done and are undefeated. It's a pretty impressive start for a team that lost its top wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin before the season, then lost star linebacker Luke Kuechly in Week 1 to a concussion.

There's plenty for both the Saints and Panthers to improve on, but all that matters is the record, and the Panthers obviously have the edge heading into Week 3.

Here are three keys to the game for both the Saints and Panthers.

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1. Make Newton beat you with his arm

Newton has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes for 370 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. With his legs, he's rushed 24 times for 111 yards and a score. Newton and this passing game are obviously still working out the kinks, and they'll be without not only Benjamin, but also veteran Jerricho Cotchery. New Orleans needs to pressure Newton and make him use his arm to beat them.

2. Open up the running lanes

The Saints are struggling to run the ball. They've rushed 47 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns. New Orleans must improve the 3.4-yard-per-carry average, because it needs to find a way to control the clock. If Brees does play, you can't put the entire weight of the offense on his injured shoulder. This offensive line needs to create holes and the running backs need to hit them.

3. Find a way to get Brandin Cooks more involved

Sure, Cooks went from four receptions in Week 1 to five receptions in Week 2, but he's totaled just 111 yards. Cooks has the potential to be a big-play receiver for New Orleans, and it needs eed to utilize that. Whether he breaks one on a screen pass or on a bomb, it has to happen eventually. The Saints need to use the run game (as mentioned above), but then hit Cooks deep with play action after it gets going. The second-year receiver is ready to explode, so let's see it happen this week.


1. Where's the run game?

Jonathan Stewart finished 2014 with a few impressive games, including rushing for 123 yards and a score against the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs. The team parted ways with DeAngelo Williams and handed the keys to the car to Stewart. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten rolling yet. To this point, Stewart has averaged 3.4-yards-per-carry, which hasn't helped out Carolina's passing game much. If Stewart starts slow, the Panthers may need to turn to either Mike Tolbert or Fozzy Whittaker for a spark.

2. Look for Greg Olsen early and often

Olsen was expected to be the go-to option for the Panthers in 2015, but Week 1 was the opposite. Olsen was targeted three times, resulting in one catch for 11 yards during their win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. After that game, Carolina vowed to get Olsen the ball. Get him the ball the Panthers did, as he tallied six catches for 70 yards in Week 2. What was really so incredible about it though, was that Newton targeted him an incredible 14 times. Olsen will get plenty of looks, but connecting with him may be Carolina's key to offensive success this season and this week.

3. Test Drew Brees' shoulder

While Brees doesn't have a torn rotator cuff, that doesn't mean that he isn't dealing with a sore shoulder. In turn, Carolina needs to take full advantage of the opportunity to test out his arm strength. The Panthers have pulled in three interceptions, and if they can get continued pressure on Brees, don't be surprised to see them add one or two more this weekend. The veteran QB has thrown two picks already, so expect Carolina's ball-hawks to be on alert.