Drew Brees, Carolina Panthers, NFL
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Will the third time be the charm for the Carolina Panthers as they look to avenge a sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in ’17?

NFL

 

Carolina Panthers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-5)

History

  • Panthers make their second appearance at the Superdome this season as these NFC South rivals clash for the third time in ’17 and the first time ever in the postseason.
  • This season, Saints swept season series for the first time since 2011, posting a 34-13 victory at Carolina (Week 3) and a 31-21 win three months later (Week 13) at New Orleans.

Coaches

  • Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera: 3-3 in postseason play.
  • Saints’ head coach Sean Payton: 6-4 in postseason play.

Postseason History

  • Panthers: Making eighth overall playoff appearance (eighth since the merger), 9-7 in postseason play (9-7 since the merger).
  • Saints: making 11th overall playoff appearance (11th since the merger), 7-9 in postseason play (7-9 since the merger).

Carolina Panthers

Panthers By The Numbers

  • 11-5 record, reached playoffs in ‘17 (6-10 in ‘16).
  • QB Cam Newton: 14 TD passes, 12 turnovers (11 INT, one lost fumble) in last 11 games; eight TD passes, five turnovers (five INT, 0 lost fumbles) in first five games in ’17; Newton: 41 TD passes, 30 INT, 10 rush TD in 30 games dating back to ’16 (35 TD passes, 10 INT, 10 rush TD in 16 games in ’15).
  • 51 turnovers in 32 games dating back to ’16 (19 turnovers in ’15).
  • Allowed 327 points in 16 games in ‘17 (allowed 402 points in ’16).
  • Allowed 32 offensive TDs in 16 games in ‘17 (allowed 38 offensive TDs in ’16).
  • Allowed 25 TD passes in 16 games in ‘17 (allowed 27 TD passes in ’16).

New Orleans Saints

Saints By The Numbers

  • 11-5 record, won NFC South in ’17 (7-9 in 2014, 2015 and ’16).
  • Won seven straight home games.
  • 2,070 rushing yards in 16 games (129.4 YPG) in ’17; 1,742 rushing yards (108.9 YPG) in ’16.
  • Allowed 326 points in 16 games in ’17 (allowed 454 points in ’16, allowed 476 points in ’15, allowed 424 points in ’14).
  • Allowed 33 offensive TD in 16 games in ’17 (allowed 46 offensive TD in ’16); allowed 26 offensive TD in last 14 games (allowed seven offensive TD in first two games in ’17)
  • Saints: 42 sacks in 16 games in ’17 (30 sacks in ’16)
  • 20 INT in 16 games in ’17 (nine INT in ’16).
  • 32-32 record in last 64 games dating back to ’14 (11-5, reached playoffs in ’13).
  • Scored 30-plus points in 16-of-32 games dating back to ’16, allowed 30-plus points in 10-of-32 games dating back to ’16.
  • QB Drew Brees: 11-11 record as a starter, 6,498 passing yards, 44 TD passes, 19 INT, sacked 35 games in 22 games vs. Panthers dating back to ’06.

Things To Look For

The Carolina Panthers are in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and while it’s been and up and down year for Cam Newton and one of the better defenses in the league, Ron Rivera (who just got a two-year contract extension) has his team primed for another Super Bowl run.

For the New Orleans Saints, this team is making its first postseason appearance since 2013. And opposed to recent editions of this club, it’s about the running game and the defense. Meanwhile, quarterback Drew Brees is hitting on 72.0 percent of his passes. And pay no mind to those who say it’s difficult to defeat a team three times in one season (it’s factually inaccurate).

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