The Saints (11-4) close out their regular season with an important NFC South matchup against the Panthers (5-10), as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs is still up for grabs. New Orleans, who was struck with some COVID-19 issues this week, will be without several of their key players going into to the game. Here's how Week 17 action shapes up.
Where to Watch: FOX - Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, and Lindsay Czarniak (field reporter)
Broadcast Map: Courtesy of 506sports.com, Saints-Panthers projected in Green
Where to Listen: WWL Radio locally (105.3FM) with Zach Strief, Deuce McAllister, and Steve Geller (sideline reporter); SIRIUS: 132 (NO), 135 (CAR) | XM: 384 (NO), 229 (CAR)
Jersey Combo: White jerseys, Gold pants
Referee: John Hussey
Current Lines: Over/Under (46.5), Saints -6
Last 5 Matchups
- 10/25/20 - Saints 27, Panthers 24
- 12/29/19 - Saints 42, Panthers 10
- 11/24/19 - Saints 34, Panthers 31
- 12/30/18 - Panthers 33, Saints 14
- 12/17/18 - Saints 12, Panthers 9
All-Time Series: Saints lead 27-25, which includes one postseason win. New Orleans has won 6 of their past 7 games against Carolina.
Last time the Saints and Panthers squared off, a then 3-2 New Orleans team was facing their first NFC South game of the season and looking to fix their woes in the secondary that led to them starting 1-2. It wasn't a perfect product, but improved. Drew Brees and company jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, but Carolina answered quickly with a deep hookup from Teddy Bridgewater to D.J. Moore, who scored again near the end of the half to put the Panthers up 17-14. The Saints would retake the lead right before halftime, as Brees hooked up with Deonte Harris for the score.
The Saints would add a field goal in the third quarter, which would be answered by the Panthers near the end from a Curtis Samuel rushing touchdown. Tied at 24-24, New Orleans would get a Wil Lutz field goal at the midpoint of the final quarter, and do enough defensively, including a game-sealing sack, to preserve a 27-24 win and improve to 4-2 on the season.
Things to watch: The biggest storyline in this game is the lack of running back options for New Orleans. Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID-19, and due to the contract tracing, the Saints will be without Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington, and Michael Burton. Also, running backs coach Joel Thomas did not make the trip and won't coach on Sunday. Ty Montgomery and Tony Jones Jr. will be the options available against the Panthers.
The Saints can still get the NFC's top spot in the playoffs, but some things need to happen. For starters, New Orleans has to win, and so does Seattle. Nothing changes unless the Bears beat the Packers, so we're putting our faith in Mitch Trubisky, as Chicago is looking to get into the postseason. They all play at the same time this afternoon, so we'll be scoreboard watching as the game goes on.
Catch up on some of our Saints-Panthers coverage from the week...
- Risky Behavior? Maskless Players, COVID-19, and Saints Playoffs
- Saints Run Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense
- Saints Pass Offense vs. Panthers Pass Defense
- Saints Pass Defense vs. Panthers Pass Offense
- Saints Run Defense vs. Panthers Run Offense
- Week 17: Saints Final Injury Report
- Saints Down Entire Running Backs Corps Due to COVID-19 Contact Tracing
- First Look: Saints vs. Panthers
- Saints and the NFC Playoff Picture: Week 17
- Saints X-Factors in Week 17
- Alvin Kamara Tests Positive for COVID-19
- Saints vs. Panthers: 3 Things to Watch in Week 17
- NFC South Preview in Week 17
- Saints vs. Carolina Trivia in Week 17
- How the New Orleans Saints Secondary Improved in 2020