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

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn makes a 15-yard catch in the second quarter during the game between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte NC on Sunday

The failure to turn a few of those into touchdowns came back to haunt the Panthers, who outscored the Saints 14-7 in the fourth quarter to make things interesting late in the game.

Payton pointed out that the Panthers not only defeated two of the top teams in the National Football League this season - New England and Minnesota - but beat the Patriots on the road.

New Orleans Saints 2018 looks more Super Bowlish, than current crop, although rookie classes for Loomis, Payton, for past two years have been superb to make it this season-Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints.

They don't have a ton of wiggle room to begin with against the Saints, who beat them twice in the regular season.

Two years later, the Panthers took down NY in the first round and Chicago in the divisional round, and Seattle pummeled Carolina in the 2005 NFC Championship game.

It was Week 3 in Carolina; the Saints were 0-2 and just starting a nine-day road trip to Charlotte and London with their season already on the line. "Things they did against us that worked, they're going to try to come back and do again". The Panthers are 0-3 SU and 0-2-1 ATS in their last three postseason games away from home.




The Jaguars advanced to face the second-seeded Steelers on January 14 in Pittsburgh. But the Panthers stalled four times from inside the New Orleans 25, settling for four field goal attempts on those drives, one of which kicker Graham Gano surprisingly missed (see full recap).

Bortles, who was 6 of 15 for 33 yards in the first half, also was Jacksonville's leading rusher with three carries for 35 yards. Newton has averaged 12.5 carries for 59.7 yards per game in Carolina's past four games.

McCaffrey's influence has been in the passing game and he leads the team with 80 receptions, second in yards on 651. "What we were during the preseason wasn't a fluke; it's something we can truly be.' And we rolled with it from there", Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said of that Week 3 awakening.

Saints coach Sean Payton takes a small measure of comfort in New Orleans' regular-season sweep of Carolina.

"It's going to be a change, but I don't want to think about that yet", Schug said. The Bills earned their first playoff berth since 1999. The Panthers' 2017 campaign features an impressive victory over NFC favorites Minnesota, as well as a narrow loss to the top-seeded Eagles, and the team would bring something more than a puncher's chance to either rematch.

But, for me, it all boils down to the play of the quarterbacks in this survive-and-advance game, and the clear edge goes to Brees and a defense that will tug enough times on Superman's cape.

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