Panthers-Saints Preview Capsule
CAROLINA (6-9) at NEW ORLEANS (13-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, Fox
OPENING LINE — Saints by 9
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Carolina 6-9, New Orleans 10-5
SERIES RECORD —Tied 24-24
LAST MEETING — Saints beat Panthers 12-9, Dec. 17
LAST WEEK -- Panthers lost to Falcons 24-10; Saints beat Steelers 31-28
AP PRO32 RANKING — Panthers No. 21, Saints No. 1
PANTHERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (17t).
PANTHERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (10), PASS (21).
SAINTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (6), RUSH (10), PASS (11).
SAINTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (1), PASS (28).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Saints have won four straight and five of last six in series, including playoffs. ... Panthers assured of second losing season since going 15-1 and advancing to Super Bowl in 2015. ... Panthers rookie QB Kyle Allen slated to make first-career start. He completed all four pass attempts last week after starter Taylor Heinicke left with injury. ... RB Christian McCaffrey had 120 scrimmage yards (53 rushing, 67 receiving), and threw 50-yard TD pass in last meeting, making McCaffrey first player since 1985 with 50 or more yards rushing, receiving and passing in same game. ... McCaffrey leads NFL RBs with 106 receptions, most by RB in single season in NFL history. ... McCaffrey has joined Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson (2003) and RB Matt Forte (2014) as only players in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 100 receptions in single season. ... WR D.J. Moore ranks second among rookies with 707 yards receiving. ... CB James Bradberry had INT and forced fumble in last meeting, his second game with both. ... TE Chris Manhertz had 50-yard TD in last meeting. He’s former college basketball player who spent much of 2015 and part of 2016 as developmental player with Saints. ... Saints are No. 1 playoff seed in NFC for second time in team history and second time since Sean Payton took over as coach in 2006. ... Saints have third 13-win season, all under Payton. Saints have never won 14 games in regular season. ... QB Drew Brees could see limited or no playing time. Backup QB Teddy Bridgwater expected to play. Bridgewater has appeared in four games, is 0-for-1 passing this season. ... Third-string QB Taysom Hill has played every game on special teams and often subs in as change-of-pace QB. He is 3 of 7 for 63 yards, one INT and no TDs this season. Hill has rushed 34 times for 185 yards and one TD. He’s converted fake punts rushing and passing. ... Brees leads NFL in completion rate at 74.4 percent (364 of 489), putting him in position to break own single-season NFL record of 72 percent, set last season. ... Brees has passed for 3,992 yards, could finish with fewest yards passing in season since joining Saints in 2006. Current low is 4,334 last season. ... DT Sheldon Rankins had forced fumble last week. He has career-high eight sacks this season. ... Saints RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have combined for 1,500 yards and 20 TDs rushing. Kamara has 1,592 scrimmage yards (883 rushing, 709 receiving) and 18 total TDs. ... Ingram has played 11 games this season after being suspended first four for testing positive for banned substance. In final year of contract, 29-year-old Ingram has 617 yards, six TDs rushing with 155 yards, one TD receiving. ... Saints DE Cameron Jordan lead Saints with 12 sacks this season, one short of career high set last season. ... Fantasy tip: McCaffrey figures to get lots of opportunities with rookie Allen at QB.
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