The Saints punt and Carolina will start its first drive at its 27. New Orleans then lost to the NFC number three seed Rams before beating Carolina by 10 at home. New Orleans captured its first win of the year in Carolina on September 24 and then secured a 31-21 home victory in Week 13. Not that Stewart would have saved the Panthers, but he would have allowed Mike Shula try to get the run game going, control time of possession and keep the defense fresh.
One positive for Carolina was the absence of a few veteran playmakers on offense in both games.
For the Saints, defending the quick and agile rookie will be a bigger challenge Sunday without linebacker A.J. Klein and safety Kenny Vaccaro as both are on injured reserve with groin injuries. Now, two of them will collide for the third time of the season.
ONLINE: FuboTV 67+ live sports and entertainment channels with 7-day FREE trial! A large part of that was the improvement of the Saints running game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. He turned those two rush attempts into 37 yards and a touchdown in route to a 34-13 victory.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, there will be a "very prominent alumni prescience" at the franchise's first playoff game against Carolina.
If the Panthers hope to win, they must find a way to limit not only Kamara but the entire rushing attack orchestrated by coach Sean Payton and the Saints. But ultimately New Orleans has too much speed and firepower to be held down for long. If Funchess is neutralized, there are just not enough other weapons for the Panthers to match the Saints score for score.