METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints return to the Superdome over the weekend to host the Carolina Panthers for another divisional game.
A win Sunday would mean the Saints (8-2) need just one more division win to lock up the NFC South for the third year in a row. The Panthers (5-5) are coming off back-to-back losses. Saints players said they expect the Panthers to come into this game about as hungry as a team can be in the NFL.
“I know that we can’t let them come in here and take a team like that for granted or sleep on a team like that because it’s a good team,” said tight end Jared Cook.
“You could say it’s similar to the position we were in coming off last week, where you lose one at home and didn’t play your best football," said quarterback Drew Brees. “There’s a lot at stake. We’re fighting to win the division. They’re fighting to be in contention as well. So, this is one of those games.”
One thing to look for Sunday is how New Orleans protects Brees. Carolina has 39 sacks this season, which is tied for most in the NFL. The Panther defense is also allowing the fewest receiving yards by running backs in the league.
“They get after you. They’ve got a lot of good pass rushers. This has always been an aggressive defense, a pressure style defense. For us, it becomes about our execution, our attention to detail in regards to the protection, and then also, when we do have opportunities to make plays, we have to make them,” Brees added.
Of course, Carolina has the extremely versatile Christian McCafferey. The running back has accounted for 14 touchdowns and more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage this season.
“Run the ball inside, outside, catch the ball out the backfield,” said linebacker Demario Davis. “He can protect, he can run routes on the outside and out the backfield. He’s a generational talent.”
Kickoff is at noon. The game can be seen on WAFB.