Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Saints' win over Carolina 31-26; will face the Vikings

Linebacker Shaq Thompson and the rest of the Panthers defense are looking for some redemption against the Saints in their third meeting this season Panthers look to continue wild card weekend success
Elias Hubbard | 08 January, 2018, 03:44

Newton targeted his tight end 10 times, resulting in only one reception (for 10 yards) and one of Newton's three interceptions.

Their third meeting - also the first playoff clash between them - is loaded with story lines.

Coverage of this game airs on FOX beginning at 4:40 pm ET on Sunday from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. And with Drew Brees, the Saints have the best chance to set off another celebration in New Orleans on Sunday.

Cam Newton drove the Panthers down the field but was sacked on fourth down before he could throw the ball in the end zone.

In game two at New Orleans, Kamara capped the very first drive on fourth-down with an impressive touchdown run.

That Ginn touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage by New Orleans this season as well as the longest play from scrimmage allowed by Carolina this season. It's possible that, having gotten two long looks at New Orleans earlier this season, Rivera will have figured out a few wrinkles that could slow down the Saints' running game.

But the problem for New Orleans is possible overconfidence, while human nature says Carolina will be motivated.

Panthers will try to establish the running game.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who'd been playing through a right ankle sprain, said he'd told coach Mike Zimmer he'd do whatever he needed to do to get through the Vikings' final three regular season games, knowing a bye would await the Vikings if they won those games. Not only did they defeat the Panthers twice, they did it decisively both times. Even for players who weren't on the team's last injury report, the bye week carried plenty of value.

When New Orleans topped Carolina by 10 in the dome in Week 13, it ended a Panthers four-game winning streak and was one of only two losses in Carolina's past nine games.

Not only does Olsen provide quarterback Cam Newton with a top-tier target, but he's enjoyed success against the Saints in the past.

"We take pride in being good at stopping the run", Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis said. "We love it", PSL owner Peggy Schug said.

Payton, who is 6-4 in the playoffs as Saints coach, is trying to maintain a fresh approach as well. 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. But at the same time, they may be doing some different things that we have to get ready for to go out and stop.

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

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