Can Cam Newton take the Carolina Panthers back to the Super Bowl? Will Drew Brees give the New Orleans Saints another NFL title? These two clash in the Wild Card at 4:25 PM ET.
It’s a clash of two teams who made it to the Super Bowl – and one winning it – and neither have done much since. The Carolina Panthers are looking for another shot at the championship since losing it to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, while the New Orleans Saints haven’t been to the big dance since Super Bowl 34 in 2009. Will either of these Wild Card teams find the much-needed redemption? Well, the first step to Super Bowl 52 begins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana.
The 2017-18 regular season saw the Saints pick up a couple wins over the Panthers. Though New Orleans bumbled to an 0-2 start, they found success in a Week 3 win over Panthers, going 34-14 at Carolina’s home turf. That kicked off an eight-game winning streak that would be snapped by the Los Angeles Rams. The Saints rebounded with a 31-21 win at home over – surprise! – the Carolina Panthers. This game is the last chance of the season for the Panthers to hand New Orleans an L, and to also eliminate the Saints from the playoffs? That would make the win doubly sweet.
Both teams ended the season 11-5, but while Carolina’s Cam Newton – at 28 years old – still has plenty of years ahead of him, time might be running out on New Orleans’ Drew Brees. Drew turns 39 on Jan. 15, and he has admitted that there’s an internal clock ticking down the minutes of his career. Yet, that only drives him to greatness. “I prepare like every game could be my last or (like) it’s a playoff game or I’ve got something to prove and I’ve got an edge,” he said, per ESPN. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, the playoffs are here, it’s time to ramp it up or things are a little more important.’ It’s always important for me.”
Drew threw 137 fewer passes this year, but connected with more for a NFL-record 72.0 completion percentage. The Saints have benefitted from rookie running back Alvin Kamara, 22, and veteran Mark Ingram, 28, as the New Orleans running game is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. They will run up against the Panthers defense, which is ranked No. 7 in the league. They only allow 88.1 yards rushing, which is third best in the NFL. Will Carolina stop New Orleans dead in its tracks?
Who do you want to win, HollywoodLifers?