When the Carolina Panthers step on the field to face the New Orleans Saints this Sunday it will become a clash of two teams moving in opposite directions. While both squads are members of South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC), the visiting Panthers are in first place and undefeated. Their Won-Loss record is 11-0.
The New Orleans Saints find themselves “bringing up the rear” with a very disappointing Won-Loss record of 4-7. The Saints have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees, calling signals. But they are virtually defenseless. This squad has been unable to keep opponents from scoring points “in bunches.”
On the other hand, the league’s only undefeated team, the visiting Panthers, also has a top-notch signal caller, Cam Newton. Young and athletic, he is also a great leader and in this “perfect” season has found ways to win games when the offense has sputtered or the defense has played ineffectively.
The Carolina defense led by All Pro LB Luke Kuechly, has found their groove and has been dominating teams which puts Newton at easy when he’s on offense. The Panther defense is one of the best in the league and their record shows that.
Analysts previewing this game have referred to it as a “lock” for the visitors because of the porous defense that plays for the Saints every Sunday. Opposing teams have been able to “light up the scoreboard” and reach the end zone in drive after drive after discouraging drive just about every week. That’s why the Saints, a team that has a dynamic offense, sports a losing record and finds itself on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.
But pride motivates most professional football players. And fans of the Saints and the team’s coaching staff expect a stellar effort when the Panthers come to town on Sunday. With little chance of making it to the playoffs, the only things left for the Saints’ players is to try to derail teams that have a legitimate chance to keep playing in January.
The Panthers are certainly one of those teams. A win by the home team Saints over the visiting squad from North Carolina won’t knock it out of the playoffs, but it will end its winning streak which actually dates back to last year.
That should provide the home team with the motivation it needs to perform in an inspired fashion because it will take determination, drive and lots of positive emotion to “beat the odds” and topple the mighty Panthers.
New Orleans has always played well at home. Fan support has always been excellent and fans in attendance have been consistently loud and raucous, often unnerving players on visiting teams. In good times, fans of the Saints have been like “a twelfth man” urging the home team on to victory.
New Orleans will need that “twelfth man” this Sunday if it wants to pull off a major upset.
Courtesy of Bleacher Report