Keys to the Game: Panthers vs. Saints

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Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with a teammate on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a 34-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that last week’s crushing 34-7 loss to the Seahawks was a huge kick to the gut for the Saints. I still believe that it was a much-needed reality check, as the team’s response after the loss is crucial on Sunday.

As always, we start with some weekly power rankings for the Black & Gold:

  • ESPN: #5 (Previous Week: #2) -3
  • NFL.com: #5 (Previous Week: #2) -3
  • CBS Sports:  #4 (Previous Week: #2) -2
  • Fox Sports: #5 (Previous Week: #2) -3

Of course, losing means dropping. In most polls, the Panthers have actually jumped the Saints. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s hard to dispute the play of the Panthers on their 8-game winning streak. Had it been to a lesser team, you could have seen the Saints fall even lower. Again, make what you will of power rankings, but they’re there.

Enter those red-hot Panthers, who swept the Saints last season for the first time since 2008. They also swept the Saints in 2006. The Panthers would beat the Saints in Week 2 last season, and then in the season finale.

We’re in for a doozy of a matchup on Sunday Night Football!

When: Sunday, December 8, 2013 @ 7:30PM CST

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, LA)

Tickets: New Orleans Saints tickets

Tailgate Weather: Mostly Cloudy | HI: 68°, LO: 61° | 60% Chance of Showers

Broadcast: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Colinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

Watch/ListenLocal Television (WDSU – Channel 6), Local Broadcast 105.3FM/AM870 (WWL Radio – Jim Henderson, Hokie Gajan, Kristian Garic)

Saints Uniforms: Black Jerseys with Black Pants (aka ‘The Black Out!’

Record & Last Game: Saints (9-3); L @ Seahawks 34-7 | Panthers (9-3); W vs. Bucs 27-6

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Tags: Cam Newton Drew Brees NFL 2013 Rob Ryan Ron Rivera Sean Payton Sunday Night Football Week 14 Matchups: Panthers Vs. Saints