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Panthers vs. Saints Game Preview

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Game Reset

  • Carolina Panthers (5-10) vs. New Orleans Saints (11-4)
  • Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, N.C.
  • Sunday, Jan. 3 | FOX | 4:25 pm ET
  • Injury Report | Depth Chart

History: Carolina vs. New Orleans

Notable Connections

Panthers

  • Offensive coordinator Joe Brady was an offensive assistant with New Orleans from 2017-18.
  • Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played for the Saints from 2018-19.

The Saints come to Carolina needing a win to potentially secure the NFC's top seed and a first-round playoff bye. A New Orleans win, along with a Packers loss and Seahawks win, would create a three-way tie for first, which would fall the Saints' way.

Running back Alvin Kamara is coming off a game where he tied the NFL record for rushing touchdowns with six against the Vikings. Ranked first in the NFL with 21 total touchdowns, Kamara needs just one more score to break the Saints' franchise record, and he can climb into the top 5 of the NFL record book for total touchdowns in a single season.

Although quarterback Drew Brees missed several games with a rib injury and is projected to play this week, this Week 17 matchup represents one of the few times in recent memory that the Panthers actually rank higher than the Saints in passing yards. Carolina has averaged 242.8 (17th) through the air, while New Orleans is at 237.8 (19th).

Table inside Article
Category Panthers Saints
Offense
Total Yards/Game 351.5 (20th) 378.4 (9th)
Rushing Yards/Game 108.7 (21st) 140.6 (7th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 242.8 (17th) 237.8 (19th)
Sacks Allowed 33 (t-16th) 27 (12th)
Third Down Efficiency 40.3 (21st) 44.8 (6th)
Points/Game 22.9 (23rd) 29.9 (4th)
Defense
Total Yards/Game 360.9 (18th) 310.3 (3rd)
Rushing Yards/Game 118.7 (16th) 95.2 (4th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 242.3 (17th) 215.1 (5th)
Sacks 27 (24th) 42 (8th)
Third Down Efficiency 49.7 (31st) 39.4 (11th)
Turnover Margin +6 (t-7th) +4 (t-9th)
Points Allowed/Game 24.6 (18th) 22.0 (8th)

Stat Nuggets To Know

Team

  • After recovering a muffed punt for a touchdown at Washington, Carolina tied for the NFL lead in most fumble recovery TDs (3) and continues to lead the NFL in fumble recoveries (15). Carolina is currently tied for the franchise record for fumble recovery touchdowns and is tied for seventh in fumble recoveries for a season.
  • The Panthers are tied for seventh in the NFL with a plus-6 turnover margin, a number that currently ranks sixth in franchise history.
  • Carolina has punted just 42 times in 2020, the third-fewest in the league. The Panthers will set a single-season franchise record for fewest punts in a season. The current mark is 61 in 2018.
  • The Panthers have made 23 fourth-down attempts, tied for second-most in franchise history. With one game remaining, the league as a whole will set an all-time record for most fourth-down attempts and fewest punts in a season since 1982.
  • Carolina ranks second in the NFL with an average of 3:06 time of possession per drive.
  • Since Week 11's shutout of Detroit, Carolina's defense ranks fifth in points allowed (19.4), eighth in yards allowed (322.8), sixth in turnover differential (plus-3) and 10th in defensive 3rd/4th down conversions allowed (39.1 percent).
  • With wide receiver Curtis Samuel just 70 yards away from 1,000 scrimmage yards, the Panthers could become the fifth team in the Super Bowl era with four different players to record 1,000 or more scrimmage yards in the same season (Washington 1989, Houston 1990, Atlanta 1995, Indianapolis 2004).

Individual

  • Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ranks fifth in the NFL with a 69.7 completion percentage, the highest in franchise history for a single season. Bridgewater's 3,557 passing yards currently rank seventh in franchise history.
  • Wide receiver DJ Moore ranks 10th in the NFL with 1,092 receiving yards, while his 17.9 yards per catch leads all qualified pass-catchers.
  • Wide receiver Robby Anderson is tied for eighth in the league with 92 receptions, the most catches by a Panthers' wide receiver since Steve Smith (103) in 2005.
  • Samuel leads the NFL with an 81.4 reception percentage with 70 catches on 86 targets. The NFL record for reception percentage with at least 700 receiving yards was set by Michael Thomas (85.0) in 2018. If the season ended today, Samuel would be third all-time.
  • Tackle Taylor Moton has played every offensive snap in 2020. He could become just the 13th different Panther to play 100 percent of the offensive snaps in a season since 2000.
  • Linebacker Jeremy Chinn leads all NFL rookies with 109 tackles. Since 2000, Chinn is one of just two rookies with at least 100 tackles and multiple defensive touchdowns in a season.
  • Linebacker Shaq Thompson has 106 tackles, his second consecutive season with at least 100 tackles. Since 2000 (press box statistics), Thompson is one of five Panthers with consecutive seasons with more than 100 tackles.
  • Defensive end Brian Burns has 9.0 sacks in 2020. He could become the ninth Panther with double-digit sacks in a season.
  • Punter Joseph Charlton won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after tying a franchise record with five punts inside the 20 at Washington. He currently ranks fourth in franchise history with a net punting average of 40.9 in 2020.

Milestones in Reach

  • Samuel (930) needs 70 scrimmage yards to reach 1,000 for the season, a new career high. He would make the Panthers the fifth team in the Super Bowl era with four players with over 1,000 scrimmage yards.
  • Samuel (475) needs 25 rushing yards to become just the ninth wideout in NFL history with 500 career rushing yards.
  • Anderson needs eight receptions to become the fourth player in franchise history with 100 catches in a season. He needs 11 catches to tie Smith (103, 2005) for the most catches by a Panthers' wide receiver in a season.
  • Moore has 17.9 yards per catch; Willie Green holds the single-season franchise record at 18.8 (1995).
  • Burns (9.0) needs one sack to become the ninth player with double-digit sacks in a season in franchise history. He (16.5) needs three sacks to pass Julius Peppers (19.0) for most sacks in a Panther player's first two seasons.

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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