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Saints need home remedy to shake off Seattle loss, down Carolina

The New Orleans Saints will have to tackle Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC South (Photo: Parker Waters).The New Orleans Saints will have to tackle Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC South (Photo: Parker Waters).

NEW ORLEANS -- After Monday night's inexplicable walkover at DeafLink Field, one thing is certain: Seattle's finest is not its coffee.

But there is little the New Orleans Saints can do about that 34-7 demolition now. They have more pressing problems to tackle, such as trying to fend off a serious and sudden challenge from the streaking Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.

The Seahawks and their 12th Man can be placed on the back burner until another day.

After arriving in New Orleans on Tuesday afternoon, approximately 12 hours later than scheduled because of overnight plane problems in Seattle, the Saints now will turn their attention to winning the division.

A victory on yet another national stage Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome would be a step in the right direction.


The Saints are 42-20 during the Sean Payton era, including 6-0 this season:

6-0, 2013

4-4*, 2012

8-0, 2011

5-3, 2010

6-2, 2009

6-2, 2008

3-5, 2007

4-4, 2006

* 1-2 under interim coach Aaron Kromer, 3-2 under interim coach Joe Vitt.

- compiled by Brian Allee-Walsh

With upcoming games at St. Louis, a rematch at Carolina and in the Dome against Tampa Bay to close out the regular season, Sunday Night Football on NBC meets all the requirements of being labeled "must win'' in my Kindle.

A loss would drop the Saints temporarily to wildcard status, elevate the Panthers to the No. 2 seed in the NFC and send Who Dat Nation into full panic mode.

Know this about the Panthers: Quarterback Cam Newton may not be the league's MVP but he means every bit as much to his team as Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson mean to theirs.

Newton is playing at an elite level right now. He's making good decisions, committing few turnovers and remains a threat running designed option plays and scrambling from the pocket.

And the Panthers' defense ranks second to no one in the NFL, including the Seahawks, in the most important statistic -- points per game (13.1).

Carolina boasts a front seven on equal footing with Seattle but the edge in the secondary goes to the Seahawks who set the gold standard for defensive backs.

In addition, the Panthers have been a tough out for the Saints during the Sean Payton regime. Carolina holds an 8-6 edge, including a series sweep last season in his absence when they scored 79 points, amassed 993 yards in total offense (492 on the ground) and scored eight rushing touchdowns.

Just as I liked the Seahawks at home Monday night because of the 12th Man and their recent dominance at CenturyLink Field, I like the Saints at home Sunday night where they are 6-0 this season and 42-20 during the Payton era, including 4-4 a year ago when he had to serve a season-long suspension for his role in Bounty gate.

The Saints have won 14 consecutive home games with Payton on the sideline, dating to a loss against Tampa Bay in the regular-season finale in 2010.

Make it 15 after Sunday night.



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