It’s not easy to beat a team three times in one season, especially when the clubs are as evenly-matched as the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. But the Saints pulled off the trifecta, knocking off the Panthers 31-26 in the Wild Card round for their first playoff win since 2014. The victory sets up a rematch from Week 1 with the Saints heading back to Minnesota for a tussle with the Vikings in the Divisional Round.
The Saints resurgence was sparked by the backfield duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, who both amassed over 1,500 yards from scrimmage. The duo was held in check by the Panthers on Sunday and combined for a total of 68 yards from scrimmage. No worries, Drew Brees was there to pick them up. Brees didn’t have a prolific passing season with the emergence of Kamara and the running of Ingram, who finished fifth with 1,124 rushing yards, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. But when the Saints needed him, Brees was there.
Tossing the ball around the yard like a 35-year-old, Brees used his arsenal to compile 376 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Michael Thomas had eight catches for 131 yards and Ted Ginn added 115 yards on just four grabs. It’s a sign of just how diverse and explosive the unit can be. The Saints will need everyone to contribute in order to knock off the Vikings and their No. 1 ranked defense. The Saints scored just 19 points in that first game, their second-lowest total of the year, and stunk in the red zone, converting just 1 of 5 trips.
Week 1: Saints at Vikings, Monday, Sept. 11, 1:10 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 2: Saints vs. Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 3: Saints at Panthers, Sunday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Saints at Dolphins in London, Sunday, Oct. 1, 9:30 a.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: Saints vs. Lions, Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 7: Saints at Packers, Sunday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 8: Saints vs. Bears, Sunday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Saints vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, November 5, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 10: Saints at Bills, Sunday, Nov. 12, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 11: Saints vs. Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Saints at Rams, Sunday, Nov. 26, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Saints vs. Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Saints at Falcons, Thursday, Dec. 7, 8:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 15: Saints vs. Jets, Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16: Saints vs. Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Saints at Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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