With the early game out of the way (thank you), we can turn our attention to the Sunday’s late game — as the New Orleans Saints (11-5) host divisional rival Carolina Panthers (11-5). The game can be seen on Fox, and the broadcast starts at 4:40pm ET.
These two teams are obviously familiar with one another. The Saints got the best of the Panthers in both of their divisional matchups this year; besting the Panthers 34-13 in September and 31-21 about one month ago.
This is, however, the first time these two franchises will have met in the postseason. Crazier things have happened, and the Panthers - who have won five out of their last ten games against New Orleans - are due for a head-to-head win against the NFC South champions.
The Saints boast the league’s second best offense (391.2 yards per game). Meanwhile, the Panthers have the league’s 7th best defense (317.1 ypg). They’ll need their defense to step up in a big way on Sunday, in an effort to slow the NFL’s best running back tandem: Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Panthers are no slouch in the run game either - averaging 131.4 yards per game (4th in the NFL) - lead by, you guessed it, Cam Newton, who has run for 754 yards this year.
Either way it shakes out, Cam Newton vs. Drew Brees is always a good time, and this game will hopefully provide for a much more entertaining three hours of football.
The Minnesota Vikings will be watching closely, as they’ll host the winner next weekend.