Gus Kattengell’s Saints Report – Panthers Game
To play or not to play? That is the question for the 2011 NFC South Champion New Orleans Saints. Sunday the 12-3 Black and Gold wrap up the regular season against 6-9 Carolina, in a game that has many people thinking about, another game.
Last season, week 17, the Saints had a playoff spot wrapped up but still had a slight shot at a division title, so they started the game playing all of their starters. Well the team suffered key injuries to safety Malcolm Jenkins and tight end Jimmy Graham, and we all know what happened the week after in Seattle, the Saints season came to an end.
This year, at stake is the possibility (albeit slim) of obtaining the second seed in the NFC Playoff picture, a seed that guarantees you a first round bye. San Francisco currently owns that spot thanks to a better conference record. The 49ers play the 2-13 Rams in St. Louis, not exactly good odds for the Saints.
That said, Head Coach Sean Payton tells us its all engines full speed ahead heading into this weekend...
That Seattle game I mentioned a bit earlier, yeah that is still in the minds of players. QB Drew Brees with his take on how the team is going into the regular season finale.
Safety Roman Harper, who had a personal foul called on him for shoving WR Steve Smith after a Carolina touchdown in the first meeting this season, is happy with the way coach is telling the team to approach this game...
The Panthers surely won't make Sunday easy for the Saints. Carolina has won 4 of their last 5 games, and the Who-Dats will get their first chance to see QB Cam Newton up close and personal. Newton has thrown for 3,893 yards, passing Peyton Manning's record for yards by a rookie QB. Saints LB Jo-Lunn Dunbar tells us what he remembers about Cam from their first meeting this season...
The Saints have to be smart heading into the game on the injury front and they will. Look for S Malcolm Jenkins to likely not play as he recovers from a stinger suffered last week, RB Mark Ingram looks like that toe isn't healing quickly, WR Lance Moore has a hamstring injury, uh sit him.
One other interesting story line to follow Sunday is Brees and how long he'll be allowed to play and if it'll be mainly passing offense while he is in. Brees, of course as we all know, broke Dan Marino's passing record back on Monday, but he is only 190 yards ahead of New England QB Tom Brady. Perhaps they'll be scoreboard watching two games?
Rams stink, so I see the Saints playing the first half true to form, trying to end the regular season playing solid football before calling it quit with key players like Drew Brees, so Panthers win this one 27-24.