Panthers look to continue wild card weekend success

Linebacker Shaq Thompson and the rest of the Panthers defense are looking for some redemption against the Saints in their third meeting this season

The Panthers have been moving the ball, but struggling in the red zone, settling three times for Gano field goal attempts, the first of which sailed wide.

Still, Saints defenders expect Olsen to be a factor in a win-or-go-home playoff game.

Newton's 56-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey cut the Saints lead to 31-26 with just over four minutes to play.

The Odds: The Saints opened as a 6 point favorite and that line has actually moved north to 7.

When Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore finished reviewing game video of the latest performance by New Orleans' defense, he came away unimpressed, but not discouraged.

This game will mark the third time New Orleans has faced a divisional opponent in the playoffs.

That Ginn touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage by New Orleans this season as well as the longest play from scrimmage allowed by Carolina this season.

In September, New Orleans tortured the Panthers offense, holding Newton to 167 passing yards and forcing three interceptions in a blowout.

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Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close. If linebackers Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson can hold New Orleans to short runs and keep passes out of the backfield to a minimum, they will provide their team an opportunity to win.

"I think this team is at its best when doubt is overwhelming against them", Shepard said on the Panthers website. He played in Carolina's last four regular season games, with as many as nine receptions in one game.

"We play at 4:40, so be in for the show". "What we were during the preseason wasn't a fluke; it's something we can truly be.' And we rolled with it from there", Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said of that Week 3 awakening.

Not only does Olsen provide quarterback Cam Newton with a top-tier target, but he's enjoyed success against the Saints in the past.

Carolina spent the entire 2017 season trying to find its deep threat at receiver, working through injuries to heir-apparent rookie second-round pick Curtis Samuel and lightning-fast Damiere Byrd before turning to Kaelin Clay.

He has just 17 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown this season, and had only one reception in Carolina's loss to Atlanta last week. If you have any questions or comments, make them during the program and we will try to use them.

The NFL playoffs continue Sunday with a doubleheader starting in Jacksonville, Florida, where the Jaguars and Buffalo Bills ended lengthy post-season droughts to make a wild-card game.

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