Thursday October 30th, 2014

Carolina Panthers free safety Thomas DeCoud will be a game-time decision Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday.

DeCoud has a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice Monday and Tuesday. He returned to practice on Wednesday but only had limited participation.

DeCoud's absence would add to the difficulty the Panthers face in going up against the high-powered Saints offense.

New Orleans is coming off its best offensive performance of the season in a win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 44 points the Saints scored were the most they've scored in a game this season and their most since scoring 34 in a season-opening overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

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Saints quarterback Drew Brees Brees had 311 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing 27 of his 32 attempts. The 84.4 percent completion percentage was Brees' highest since 2011, and it was the first time since Week 3 this season that he didn't throw an interception. 

Rivera also announced Wednesday that undrafted rookie David Foucault will start at left tackle due to injuries to starter Blake Bell. Right tackle Nate Chandler will play despite injuring himself last week, and backup lineman Amini Silatolu is out for the third straight week due to a calf injury.

DeCoud, 29, hasn't missed a game this season in his first year with Carolina after spending his first six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. The one-time Pro Bowler has 32 tackles and one interception this season.

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The Panthers enter Thursday 18th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 243.2 yards per game.

First place in the NFC South is on the line in Thursday night's game. Carolina is 3-4-1, while New Orleans is 3-4.

Ben Estes

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