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Saints defense bracing for first test vs Panthers' Olsen

08 January, 2018, 03:43 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • BC-FBN--NFL Playoff Capsules

Sunday, in the National Football League playoffs against the Carolina Panthers, the Saints' run game was slowed down and New Orleans won 31-26 by reverting to what they've always been with Drew Brees as their quarterback: one of the most explosive offenses on the planet.

Outside of going 0-2 SU and ATS against the Saints this season, the Panthers decimated the majority of their schedule going 11-3 SU and 9-4-1 ATS over their other 14 games. He could have easily been the goat had the Panthers taken advantage of his questionable decision, but in the end his defense prevailed, and the Saints are going on. But Newton, Carolina's leading rusher this season, didn't run much in two losses to New Orleans, gaining 67 yards on nine carries.

Perhaps someone should take that broom and whack Payton over the head with it after he almost cost his team the game. "When you're in the grind of the game week, it's hard to find time to do those things".

Minnesota had a chance to set up a game-winning field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter and advance to Super Bowl XLIV, but then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre infamously threw an interception with under 15 seconds to play, and the Saints went on to win in overtime. Unfortunately, there are days every season in which Newton couldn't hit a milk truck with a beach ball, and no one ever seems to know when those days are coming. Even for players who weren't on the team's last injury report, the bye week carried plenty of value.

"Him and Cam have timing together, chemistry", Saints safety Vonn Bell said.

"He was my hero".

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Should much change between these two teams?

The Pro Bowl running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara helped the Saints rush for 149 and 148 yards in two games against Carolina, the two highest rushing totals allowed by Carolina this season. "But the beauty of this is we get another shot, and this time it really means something".

"We take pride in being good at stopping the run", Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis said. It's uncharacteristic of this defense.

The No 8 overall pick out of Stanford was strictly a third down back behind veteran Jonathan Stewart, and neither have been very successful running the ball. The tight didn't play in either of the Panthers' losses to the Saints this season after breaking his foot in Week 2. And obviously, you don't just look at the games you played them.

Notes: LT Terron Armstead (thigh), DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) all practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday after not playing in Tampa Bay last Sunday.

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