This time, it's win or go home. The early run-game success (see above) will get the Saints linebackers to bite on play-action fakes, creating some space for Olsen in the secondary.
As far as the adage goes that it's hard to beat the same team three times in the same season.not true unfortunately! He turned those two rush attempts into 37 yards and a touchdown in route to a 34-13 victory.
Winning this matchup was a main reason the Saints won the first two games.
Outside of going 0-2 SU and ATS against the Saints this season, the Panthers decimated the majority of their schedule going 11-3 SU and 9-4-1 ATS over their other 14 games.
One positive for Carolina was the absence of a few veteran playmakers on offense in both games. New Orleans was mostly better at containing him as he caught five passes for 33 yards in Week 13, but one of those receptions was a wide-open 21-yard touchdown. Neither center Ryan Kalil or tight end Greg Olsen played against their divisional rival but both are healthy and expected to produce on Sunday.
McCaffrey hasn't measured up to Kamara's incredible rookie campaign, but with 435 rushing yards, 651 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns, McCaffrey is certainly a threat. Except Newton, whose scrambles and zone-read plays will keep drives alive and allow the Panthers to stay close for awhile.
Will the Saints defeat the Panthers for the third time this season or will it be Ron Rivera's club who advances to the next round? The running back tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara has made life much easier on Drew Brees, who is in his 17th year in the league and 12th with the Saints.