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NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

There's a simple explanation as to why the New Orleans Saints twice humbled the Carolina Panthers during the regular season.

But, for me, it all boils down to the play of the quarterbacks in this survive-and-advance game, and the clear edge goes to Brees and a defense that will tug enough times on Superman's cape.

New Orleans went 11-5 this year to win the NFC South for the first time since 2011 and stop a streak of three consecutive 7-9 seasons. He turned those two rush attempts into 37 yards and a touchdown in route to a 34-13 victory. In the Week 13 rematch, a 31-21 win, the Saints gained 148 yards on a 5.3-yard average per carry.

Saints: DE Trey Henderson (ankle), OL Terron Armstead (thigh) are QUESTIONABLE. New Orleans is lead by a two-headed monster at running back between rookie standout Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

The Saints did well in this matchup in one game, but poorly in the other. Both rushed for more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage with Kamara perhaps the most electric of the two. Neither center Ryan Kalil or tight end Greg Olsen played against their divisional rival but both are healthy and expected to produce on Sunday. Much of the coverage duties will fall to linebacker Manti Te'o in this game. Except Newton, whose scrambles and zone-read plays will keep drives alive and allow the Panthers to stay close for awhile. Now, two of them will collide for the third time of the season. The majority of those stats came in Week 15 when he torched the Green Bay Packers with nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Which team will prevail with a lot more on the line?

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