Saints season-long dominance of Panthers continues in 31-26 wildcard win

Saints season-long dominance of Panthers continues in 31-26 wildcard win

Saints season-long dominance of Panthers continues in 31-26 wildcard win

If Carolina quarterback Cam Newton doesn't don his cape and play like a superhero in Sunday's NFC wildcard game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Black and Gold likely will complete the rare trifecta and advance to the divisional round. He could have easily been the goat had the Panthers taken advantage of his questionable decision, but in the end his defense prevailed, and the Saints are going on. The over/under for the game is 48 total points. However, with that said, two NFC South teams have never been pitted against each other three times in one season. The Panthers were 1-1 in those games and are 2-1 all-time in conference championship games.

Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees showed up for the Saints.

The Vikings came through the end of the regular season in relatively good health, and have a good chance to get center Pat Elflein back from the shoulder injury that kept him out in Week 17.

"I've said before, I thought that two-game road stretch we took was important at Carolina and at London", Payton said.

Although Olsen is back and considered to be healthy, Saints safety Rafael Bush said he expects the Panthers to continue to be a run-heavy offense. "I prepare like every game could be my last or (like) it's a playoff game or I've got something to prove and I've got an edge", he said, per ESPN.

"He was my hero". Which team will prevail with a lot more on the line?

DEFENDING THE RUN: The Panthers finished third in the league against the run, but struggled to stop the Saints.

"If you go back and look at some of the games they've lost, they for the most part have lost the time of possession battle which means (the opposition is) keeping Drew Brees off the field by the running the ball, running the clock", head coach Ron Rivera said. If you have any questions or comments, make them during the program and we will try to use them.

"We've got a fire lit up under us to come out here and play the way we know we're capable of playing", defensive tackle Tyeler Davison said. It's uncharacteristic of this defense. "You look at what they've been doing over the last four or five weeks". 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.

Saints: DE Trey Henderson (ankle), OL Terron Armstead (thigh) are QUESTIONABLE. He practiced on a limited basis this week and was listed as questionable.

The Saints will also miss having top middle linebacker A.J. Klein (groin), who used to play for the Panthers and is on injured reserve.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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