Know your Foe: New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees, Taysom Hill

Carolina (5-10) closes the season against New Orleans (11-4) for the third consecutive year, with the teams splitting the last two season finales.

The game was moved to a 4:25 p.m. start as the Saints will be playing for playoff seeding and a potential first-round bye.

Saints playing for bye

Although the Saints have already clinched their fourth-straight NFC South title, they'll still be fighting for a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

If New Orleans wins on Sunday, coupled with a Green Bay loss and Seattle win, the Saints would win a three-way tie for first place in the NFC. That would give them the only first-round bye in the new seven-team playoff structure in 2020. If New Orleans loses, or the other two teams have different results, the Saints could end up with the second or third seed.

With all three games being played simultaneously in the late afternoon window, expect a lot of scoreboard watching and potentially some late-game substitutions if a particular seed becomes assured.

Drew Brees

Brees is back

Quarterback Drew Brees suffered a painful rib injury against San Francisco in Week 10 and had to miss a number of games to heal. Taysom Hill took over as the starter and went 3-0, beating Atlanta, Denver and then Atlanta again. But the magic didn't last into Week 14 as the Eagles tripped up the Saints to give them their first loss since Week 3.

Brees returned to the starting role in Week 15 against Kansas City, throwing for 234 yards in a 3-point loss to the AFC's top team. He then got the Saints back on track on Christmas Day, throwing for 311 yards in a 52-33 win over Minnesota.

After spending every week going back and forth with Tom Brady for the NFL's all-time passing touchdown record, Brees is now nine TDs (577-568) behind Brady as the regular season comes to a close.

Alvin Kamara

Kamara putting the Saints, fantasy owners on his back

Alvin Kamara has tied Saints' records with 15 rushing touchdowns and 21 total touchdowns in a single season. He's currently tied with Minnesota's Dalvin Cook for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL, while Kamara's total touchdowns lead all players.

While Kamara is still 10 total touchdowns away from Ladainian Tomlinson's all-time single-season record of 31, Kamara could be eyeing the top 5 of that list, which includes Tomlinson (31), Shaun Alexander (28), Priest Holmes (27), Marshall Faulk (26) and Emmitt Smith (25).

Last week, Kamara tied an NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in the Christmas Day blowout of the Vikings. It also happened to coincide with most fantasy football championship weeks, giving Kamara cult status as an all-time fantasy hero.

The Panthers trail the all-time series against the Saints, 25-27. Carolina has played New Orleans more than any other team in its history.

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