The Carolina Panthers may become the first team to win the NFC South title three consecutive years in a row when they take on the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this Sunday. The Panthers are the second team in the division to start off the season 11-0, the other ball club is the Saints who accomplished it in 2009.
The Saints come into this matchup with a 4-7 record and are on the outside looking in at the NFC Wild Card race. Their division rival the Atlanta Falcons are on a five-game losing streak, but the Saints cannot gain any traction on the struggling “Dirty Birds.” Right now the Saints could be tied with the Falcons for at least a 6-5 record that would have put them in contention for a wildcard spot in the playoffs.
However, it has been the complete opposite for the “Black and Gold.” Usually when the Saints backs are against the wall, they somehow find a way to pull off the victory. When the Saints were 1-4 at the beginning of the season, they had a stellar performance against the Atlanta Falcons on the Thursday Night Football.
They won 31-21, but who have thought that the Falcons would go on to lose their next four games? The Saints are now in that “win or die” situation once again. The keys to the Saints winning this game against the Panthers this Sunday boils down to three things.
They need to run the football successfully with Mark Ingram, cut down on the defensive penalties committed by the secondary and not give up the big plays on defense. The Saints must also not allow the Panthers to have a short field that was given to them by the result of a turnover. When the Dallas Cowboys committed those two turnovers against the Panthers on Thanksgiving, it ended their hopes of contending for an NFC East Title.
The results will be the same for the Saints if they commit the same mistake. Division games are always the toughest for Super Bowl contenders to win, however; the Panthers are 11-0 and have a commanding lead in the NFC South. Quarterback Drew Brees will have the Saints motivated to play against the Panthers this Sunday, if not it will be the final nail in the coffin for this football team.
Photo credits by bleacherreport.com