Panthers and Saints meet in New Orleans
The Carolina Panthers face what would appear to be their single most important game of their regular campaign this week when they play the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Tied with the Saints with an 8-3 record, one of those defeats was to New Orleans earlier in the campaign at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. A season sweep would give the Saints and huge advantage in a tiebreaker and hence the importance of the game to the Panthers.
Carolina arrives in town with a four-game winning streak that includes victories over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins and, after their bye week, last time out against the New York Jets on Sunday.
A Luke Kuechly 34-yard Fumble Return for a score and a Kaelin Clay 60-yard Punt Return, also into the end zone, helped the Panthers to the 35-27 win at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Meanwhile the Saints saw their eight-game winning streak come to and end when they fell to the Rams in Los Angeles. Quarterback Drew Brees completed 22-of-32 for 246 yards and a score in the 26-20 loss and now must regroup for the crucial match up with the Panthers.
Both teams would seem on track for the post-season with the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks also in the mix as the teams' battle for Wild Card places in the NFC.
New Orleans still has two games to play against the Falcons and so nothing is close to being decided in the NFC South Division.
The Saints are 4.00 to win the Super Bowl this season.
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