In the final game of Wild Card Weekend, playoff football returns to the Big Easy for the first time since 2011. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers take a trip to the Superdome in New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in what shapes up as perhaps the best game of the weekend.
This game is a tough matchup for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers lost both games they played against the Saints in the regular season, both by double digits. The Panthers normally superb run defense was unable to contain the Saints rushing attack, giving up 140+ yards rushing in both contests, the only two games all year the Panthers gave up more than 120 yards on the ground. The Panthers offense also had all kinds of trouble against the Saints; the Saints held the Panthers below 290 yards in total offense in both games. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was unable to exceed an anemic 170 yards passing in either contest.
The Saints are very comfortable in their home stadium. They haven't lost a game in New Orleans since a week 2 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees excels under the dome, and the hometown crowd gives the Saints a big home field advantage. The addition of dynamic rookie running back Alvin Kamara has brought balance to the Saints offense, and this is now an extremely difficult offense to shut down. The Saints also have added key parts on defense, including a shut down Pro Bowl rookie cornerback in Marshon Lattimore. This is a deep and talented Saints team that may be only a little experience away from a Super Bowl run.
It's the Saints and the Panthers going at it in the final and best game of Wild Card Weekend. Enjoy the game everybody.