NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

The Panthers have been moving the ball, but struggling in the red zone, settling three times for Gano field goal attempts, the first of which sailed wide.

It means the Saints (11-5) play the Panthers (11-5) in the Superdome, where New Orleans hasn't lost a playoff game since 1992 and is 4-0 in the postseason under Payton. And with Drew Brees, the Saints have the best chance to set off another celebration in New Orleans on Sunday. New Orleans is lead by a two-headed monster at running back between rookie standout Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

Cam Newton led the team in rushing for the second time in his seven seasons there with 754 yards and six touchdowns. The Saints are a 7-point favorite, according to Vegas Insider. It's the third time they've met this season.

Brees simply riddled a Panthers defense that seemed prep to stop the run with a littany of precision passes and, although he held the ball longer than he usually does, Carolina's vaunted pass rush couldn't get home.

Lattimore and fellow Saints defenders not only have to address their recent back-sliding as a unit, but also for the presence of star Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, who didn't play in either of these teams' previous two meetings this season.

Four teams that weren't in the playoffs last season are assured of playing next weekend - Tennessee, Philadelphia and the winners of Jacksonville-Buffalo and Carolina-New Orleans. Not only does establishing the run against the Saints open up the passing game for Newton, but it also keeps Brees on the sideline.

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The 55-year-old father began working with the pet rescue organization to honor his brother who passed away four years ago. His family is still holding out hope and praying for a miracle. "Bill has the kindest heart", mother Ann Kinsinger said.

"I think this team is at its best when doubt is overwhelming against them", Shepard said on the Panthers website. The first matchup between the division rivals occurred all the way back in Week 3 when the Saints destroyed Carolina 34-13 for their first win of the season. While Newton can certainly create plays with his legs it will be much more hard under the pressure of Jordan and the Saints defensive front.

One positive for Carolina was the absence of a few veteran playmakers on offense in both games. "You look at what they've been doing over the last four or five weeks".

"We play at 4:40, so be in for the show". "That's something we that we have not done a good job of this year. Not having him is significant and having him is huge", Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Not only does Olsen provide quarterback Cam Newton with a top-tier target, but he's enjoyed success against the Saints in the past. "If you look at those two games, we flat out didn't get it done".

Saints: DE Trey Henderson (ankle), OL Terron Armstead (thigh) are QUESTIONABLE.

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