The Saints (12-5) will be out to avenge a 29-19 season-opening loss to the Vikings (13-3), a game played almost four months ago on a national stage at the same stadium and the site of Super Bowl LII on February 4.
"What we've shown offensively is we have a lot of ways to be effective", Brees said, mentioning clutch first-down catches by Brandon Coleman and Willie Snead in addition to the big plays by Ginn and Thomas. He went 23-for-33 for 376 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception and a 115.2 quarterback rating. The connection propelled the Black and Gold to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Cam Newton and the Panthers offense struggled in the red zone for most of the evening, having to settle for Graham Gano field goals over Panthers touchdowns.
Brees' touchdowns went for 80-yards to Ted Ginn and 9 yards to tight end Josh Hill. After hauling in Brees' throw at the Carolina 39-yard line, he high-stepped his way out of a tackle attempt and raced the final 30 yards untouched for the score. But that just put the ball in the hands of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was almost flawless. Gano kicked a fourth field goal of 29 yards in the third quarter drawing Carolina to within 21-12. It'll be interesting to see if this game has any draining factor on the Saints next week. "I said, 'Do you have a play you like?' And he said, 'Yeah.' So I said, 'Let's go for it.' End of discussion".
Brees replied: "Do you have a play?" to which Payton said, "Yeah". "If you are going to stack the box, try to stop the run and try to take us (running backs) out of the game, then he is going to hurt you".
Newton quickly completed passes of 19 yards to Devin Funchess and 21 yards to Kaelin Clay, and a defensive holding call on safety Rafael Bush gave Carolina a first down at the Saints' 21.
It was the fifth time the Panthers failed to reach the end zone after getting past the Saints' 25-yard line.
Teacher removed from school board meeting in handcuffs
Hargrave, her school, Puyau, Fontana, and the city marshal's office did not respond to BuzzFeed News's request for comment. Teacher Deyshia Hargrave spoke up during public comment and said, "You're making our jobs more hard ".
The resulting loss, just two plays later, ended a Panthers season filled with turmoil and off the field distractions.
For the first time in the history of the New Orleans Saints, they play a team in the playoffs that they have already beaten twice in a season.
Brees was then intercepted to leave the Panthers a small chance - two minutes and zero timeouts. "At this point, we've just got to win games".
His favorite target of the day was former Ohio State Buckeye standout Michael Thomas, who finished with 131 yards receiving on eight catches.
Cam: I have a really good relationship with Mr. Richardson.
Cam Newton connected with Christian McCaffrey on a 56-yard touchdown pass that got the Panthers within 31-26. The dynamic duo had been averaging 193 yards from scrimmage through 16 games but was limited to 68 yards Sunday, including a 2-yard touchdown run by Kamara with 5:08 remaining that ultimately proved the margin of victory.