The Saints haven't lost a home game all season, but their road record — 3-4 — has led some to question whether they can win away from home in the playoffs.
Their game Sunday in Carolina will determine if they get a bye in the first round of the playoffs, which would mean they wouldn't have to play on the road until at least the NFC Championship Game.
New Orleans blew the Panthers out in the Superdome two weeks ago, but it has lost four of its last five on the road, with the only win coming against the 4-10 Falcons. Two of those losses were to 6-8 teams — the Jets and Rams.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton believes the questions about his team's road mettle are valid.
“No, probably in fairness to that, maybe earlier in the year [they frustrated me] but those questions certainly are valid ones right now,” Payton said to the team’s official website. “I think over our tenure here [that began] in 2006 we have played very well on the road and yet that is insignificant as it pertains to 2013. No, I don’t know that we necessarily embrace it or get frustrated with it, it is really you guys reporting what is accurate.”
Payton said he and the Saints' coaches have been trying to figure out ways to improve on the road, but it's likely on the shoulders of quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees has 23 touchdowns and three interceptions at home this season, and 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the road.SI WIRE: Saints sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham after releasing Garrett Hartley