Cam Newton's supporting cast must step up for Panthers to overcome Saints

Cam Newton's supporting cast must step up for Panthers to overcome Saints

Their third meeting - also the first playoff clash between them - is loaded with story lines.

The Panthers will have to figure out how to get to Saints future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees.

If Carolina quarterback Cam Newton doesn't don his cape and play like a superhero in Sunday's NFC wildcard game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Black and Gold likely will complete the rare trifecta and advance to the divisional round. The Saints are a 7-point favorite, according to Vegas Insider.

Graham Gano's 27-yard field goal has given the Carolina Panthers their first points of their NFC wild-card game in New Orleans.

Their investment helped finance the stadium when it was built, so if the new Panthers owner moves the team out of Charlotte, they will lose those seat licenses. The Saints already beat the Panthers twice this season. 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. But ultimately New Orleans has too much speed and firepower to be held down for long.

"We didn't get up for that game and that's on us". Once Newton gets hot in the running game, the passing game can be hard to defend because of his ability to dominate on the ground or through the air. New Orleans beat the Panthers, 31-21, in the dome on December 3 and won, 34-13, at Carolina on September 24.

While Saints All-Pro defensive end Cam Jordan has done well containing the 6-foot-5, 245-pound, fleet-footed Newton in previous meetings, he said he doesn't exactly enjoy the prospect of having to do so again. Despite the solid game, Coleman will be nothing more than a DFS punt next week in Minnesota.




Carolina enters Sunday's tilt with a 9-7 record in 18 postseason games.

Payton, who is 6-4 in the playoffs as Saints coach, is trying to maintain a fresh approach as well.

"We take pride in being good at stopping the run", Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis said. "That's something we that we have not done a good job of this year".

Stewart sat out last week's 22-10 loss to Atlanta with back soreness.

"[It's] being able to have extra time to get treatment, to get massages and take advantage of the resources you have at your house: rolling out, stretching, things like that", wide receiver Adam Thielen said.

Notes: LT Terron Armstead (thigh), DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) all practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday after not playing in Tampa Bay last Sunday.

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