The New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 with some big things to play for in a game that will never be close.
The New Orleans Saints enter Week 17 with a realistic chance of going 13-3 on the season and may not even end up getting a first-round bye. If both the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers win then all three teams will be 13-3 and the 49ers and Packers will get the bye due to a better conference record.
The Saints have to go out and do their job in Week 17 to even give themselves a chance of getting a first-round bye, however, it is more than likely that the Saints will get the job done. They are taking on a Panthers team that is no longer with Ron Rivera and has been sliding downhill to end the year.
However, with it being a conference game and with what happened last time these two teams played, it is not crazy to be concerned about this game leading into it.
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The Panthers played the Saints really tough five weeks ago and would have taken a three-point lead over the Saints if Joey Slye did not miss a field goal in the closing stages of the game, which allowed the Saints to march down and score the game-winning field goal.
Heck, if the Panthers would have gotten a touchdown after getting rewarded an overturned pass interference call for a first down then the Saints probably would have lost and we would not be having this conversation.
Don’t worry about the last outcome and how close the Panthers got to beating the Saints. This game is going to be a complete routing; it won’t ever be close and the Saints are going to go on the road and take care of the business.
Forget about it being outdoors and on the road, forget about the danger of Christian McCaffrey and forget that the Panthers would love nothing more than to play spoiler for the Saints. There is no way that the Panthers can play two close games against a team as good as the Saints twice in one year.
The one thing that really killed the Saints last time these two teams met was penalties. All in all, the Saints committed 12 penalties that cost them 123 yards. Even more concerning, five of those 12 penalties gave the Panthers a first down.
That is the kind of showing that will lose games. Granted, some of the calls were justified and some were questionable but the defense had a really sloppy game, especially in the hands to the face department.
You can bet that the same thing will not happen in this game as Sean Payton gets his guys ready for the playoffs. This is going to be a disciplined Saints team that does not give the Panthers any extra chances and takes advantage.
McCaffrey will probably have a good game, that is a given at this point, but I really do not think that the struggling Kyle Allen will be able to do much against this defense, especially if the forecasted showers end up raining down on the field.
Don’t worry about the New Orleans Saints not doing their job in Week 17, Drew Brees and company will take care of business. We should be more worried about the Packers and/or 49ers actually losing on Sunday.