The New Orleans Saints, once the darling of the NFL’s powerhouses, looked more like a cellar dweller last Monday against the Seahawks. Not known as a road team, the Saints seemed to have more than a fighting chance against Seattle. Turns out, they didn’t. The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, have quietly become of the NFL’s most-feared teams, going on a tear to pull themselves up to a 9-3 record — tied with the Saints — and fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC South. When the two 9-3 teams battle tonight on NBC Sunday Night Football, it’ll be a battle of momentum, a battle of playoff scrappers, and a battle that nobody saw coming before the season began. If you can’t catch the broadcast on NBC, you can watch Sunday Night Football online using the links below.
The Carolina Panthers are by far the hottest team in the league. After a slow start to their season, the Panthers turned it around at the 1-3 point and have won eight games in a row. Quarterback Cam Newton has performed incredibly during that stretch, and he’s justifiably entered an MVP picture previously dominated by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. The Panthers and QB Newton will need every ounce of that eight-game momentum on their side for tonight’s Sunday Night Football matchup in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. At home, the Saints have been virtually unstoppable.
New Orleans may have been dominated from the opening kickoff on Monday against the Seahawks, but that game was in Seattle. At home in the Superdome, the Saints this season have put up more than two touchdowns more than they do on the road. So while tonight’s game comes after a short week, the home cooking is bound to do wonders for Saints QB Drew Brees and the rest of New Orleans’ sixth-ranked offense.
You see, Panthers QB Cam Newton may get a lot of the pre-game hype before you watch Sunday Night Football online tonight, but Drew Brees is the QB whose been much more consistent. Through 12 games, Brees has completed 323 of 477 passes, racking up 3,794 yards and 29 touchdowns. Again, most of that damage has come at home, so the change of scenery coupled with the home cooking is bound to make Brees dangerous tonight. The fact that the Panthers pass defense isn’t as strong as their rushing defense is just icing.
Newton, meanwhile, will garner much of the attention for the Panthers although they’ve only mustered the NFL’s 24th-ranked offense. And they can thank their ninth-ranked rushing game for much of that. What’s likely to unfold tonight isn’t a game dominated by all-pro stats from Newton, but a Panthers defense intent on being the sole road team to shut down the Saints offense. Since they roll into tonight’s Sunday Night Football game with the league’s second-ranked D, the chances of that are high.
You can watch Sunday Night Football online on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket with MAX Package. The package requires a subscription, but anyone who has one can watch the live streaming version free of any game, including today’s 8:25 EST / 5:25 PST NBC Sunday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.