Saints defeat the Panthers 31-26, advance to NFC divisional round

Panthers running backs cut wrestling promo for Saints playoff

The Panthers are the only team in the National Football League to to the NFC Divisional Round in each of their playoff trips. The Saints defeated the St. Louis Rams, 31-28, on December 30, 2000, in the dome for their first-ever playoff win after splitting during the regular season.

The Panthers play in New Orleans at 4:40 p.m. Sunday.

Drew Brees may be the Saints' quarterback, but this is not his typical Saints team.

Well, this season the New Orleans Saints have been running the ball much more than ever, terrorizing the league with the NFL's top running back tandem: Alvin Kamara and former Heisman Trophy victor Mark Ingram.

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On the Panthers side of the ball it is clear that the offense runs though quarterback Cam Newton who not only quarterbacked the team but also ran for 754 yards and six touchdowns.

The 6-foot-7, 316-pound Peat was the Saints' first-round draft pick in 2015 out of Stanford, where he played left tackle. If they do, it could help change the outcome of a third meeting between the two teams this season.

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.

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

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Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close. Not that Stewart would have saved the Panthers, but he would have allowed Mike Shula try to get the run game going, control time of possession and keep the defense fresh. In their two losses to New Orleans, the Panthers yielded thirty-four and thirty points, their two highest totals of the season.

So, there's that, and the Saints are a touchdown favorite over a team they dominated twice. "That's something we that we have not done a good job of this year".

Expect the Saints to apply plenty of pressure on Newton.

"It just kind of let everybody know, 'Hey, we're not a bad team, we're not a bad defense". "But the beauty of this is we get another shot, and this time it really means something".

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Olsen's injury forced him to miss nine games this season, and while playing through pain, he struggled to match his production of the past, finishing the season with 17 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown - and the majority of those statistics came in Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers. They didn't look good in last week's 22-10 loss at Atlanta with the division on the line.

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