NFC Wild Card Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

Angelica Greene
January 8, 2018

Atlanta gave up 19.8 points per game this year (eighth-best in the NFL), but it impressively shut the Rams down in a 26-13 victory. He racked up 157 yards and two touchdowns in his two games against the Panthers earlier this year and will be among the top wide receiver plays in fantasy this weekend. "Gregg's a pass-catching threat, a good route runner, got good hands".

But, Olsen didn't have any receptions against the Saints in 2017 because he sat out both regular-season matchups while tending to a foot injury. "He's a bigger-bodied guy". Usually when it's in his radius, he catches it. "He's obviously a target that Brees likes because he's dependable". He rushed for 51 yards, passed for 183 and a pair of scores and helped fuel a more competitive result. 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.

We'll take a look a three important statistics below for Sunday's games in addition to providing spreads and over/under totals (via OddsShark) and picks. "But you need to have a lead to be able to do that, which is a tall order". The Saints have rushed for nearly 300 yards in the previous two meetings combined and proved to be a major reason why they won. Widely regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the National Football League, the Superdome's raucous atmosphere adds an extra hurdle for visiting offenses to overcome. "But the beauty of this is we get another shot, and this time it really means something".

History isn't in the Panthers favor, though.

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The Vikings had faced all three of their potential divisional round opponents during the regular season, beating the Saints 29-19 in Week 1 and topping the Rams 24-7 in Week 11 before losing 31-24 to the Panthers on December 10.

Their third meeting - also the first playoff clash between them - is loaded with story lines. "That doesn't happen very often in this league".

When New Orleans topped Carolina by 10 in the dome in Week 13, it ended a Panthers four-game winning streak and was one of only two losses in Carolina's past nine games. "(We) understand that this is a team game, but it's a team game that's (won or lost) by one-on-one matchups". We're going to get the job done. As of late, the worry isn't with Carolina's defense forcing turnovers but instead with the offense turning them into points. "But at the same time, we are playing against a team that has beat us twice", Rivera said. "Well that's fine. It how you look at it and go out there an you play".

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