Panthers Road Game Will Define 2013 Saints Season

Sep 16, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) loses the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Saints 35-27. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The classic 24-hour rule for the Saints has come and gone. All focus shifts to the Panthers, and that should be the only thing on anyone’s mind at this point in time.

“We know what we’re playing for. We’re playing for the divisional championship and the 2 seed, so it doesn’t get any bigger or better than that. It will be a great challenge for us.” -Drew Brees

“The sky has not fallen. We know we have a good team. … We’ve got to play better on the road. We’ve got to get rid of that stigma that we can’t play on the road, because right now we’re proving everybody right.” -Curtis Lofton

The Saints will have to dig deep, and really do some soul-searching to find the answers to pull off a win at Carolina. Sure, we all remember the last time they played a short time ago, as the Saints had all of the answers for them. This time around? We know a victory won’t come as easy.  As it is, there’s already tons of things that will be building against the Saints. Just to hit on a few things:

  • Sean Payton is 3-3 against the Panthers on the road
  • Overall, the Saints are 3-4 against the Panthers on the road since 2006
  • The Saints are a career .500 (9-9) on the road against the Panthers dating back to 1995 (Expansion season)
  • FOX has officially brought in their #1 team of Buck/Aikman to call this game

There’s so much tension mounting, as Sean Payton stated in so many words that there could be some new faces on the roster this week, or least some change-up for the starters. Garrett Hartley & Charles Brown look to be on that short list of ‘getting a lump of coal in their stocking’. Scare tactic? You tell me if Coach Payton would joke about that.

Any fan of football knows, or should know, the type of energy that is going to go in to this game Sunday, but for the Saints, this will define their season. Why?

Think back to everything that has happened since the Super Bowl win in 2009. The Saints were bounced out of the playoffs the following season by the 7-9 Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch Run), and then mustering another Super Bowl caliber team the following season, finishing 13-3 only to be upset by the 49ers (the Vernon Davis Catch), and then finally all of the ‘stuff’ hit the fan (Bounty Gate), and finishing at 7-9 without Coach Payton, sporting the league’s worst defense, statistically.

Last season, the course of the Saints season arguably went downhill after Drew Brees was intercepted by Ahmad Brooks. The Saints were looking to go above .500 after starting 0-4. That play would set things in motion, as the Saints would lose three games in a row (49ers, Falcons, Giants). Arguably, it was the ultimate turning point of their season.

This season, this game has so much at stake. A Saints victory could skyrocket their chances at a Super Bowl run. Think about it. Assuming the Saints emerge victorious, you’re breaking some bad karma already with the ‘road syndrome’. It’s just what you need to follow up a poor road loss, a victory of this magnitude. Sure, you’d also have to potentially head back to Seattle to play them again, but, you earn a Dome Home game for being the #2 seed, where the Saints haven’t lost this season.

This win doesn’t just mean all of those things, it will be the turning point for the 2013 Saints.

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Topics: Carolina Panthers, Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, NFL 2013, NFL On Fox, Rob Ryan, Ron Rivera, Sean Payton, Week 16

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  • cwillen

    Won’t it be the SAINTS “road game” which defines their 2013 season? I mean, to say they’ve played poorly on the road is an understatement. Brees, Payton, and now Lofton have all echoed the infamous, “we need to play better on the road” remarks, but they just simply haven’t done it.

    Also, there’s a few major things you left off your list.

    First, the Saints have CRUSHED people in the dome, but they either squeak out a win against a weak team or get crushed themselves the second the leave the bayou. Forget how they do on the road against the Panthers; that’s thinking too small. They’re just a bad road team.

    Second, they’re going against a very good Panthers team that is seeking revenge for a tough loss a couple weeks ago, and has no plans on letting that happen on their home turf. Outside of Seattle in week 1, the Panthers haven’t lost at home either. In fact, at home, the Panthers have outscored their opponents 190-83 and haven’t allowed more than 20 by any visiting team.

    Third, and this might be the most significant, right now the weather for the game looks like it’ll be storming in Carolina. Why is that a big deal? Bad weather kills the passing game for any QB; even Brees. I’m not saying there won’t be any balls thrown, I’m just saying that things are going to be a lot more one-dimensional this go around. If Brees can’t exploit the Panthers secondary, he has to beat that front 7. And I’m sorry, but I’ll take that front 7 at home ANY day.

  • Matt Silver

    AF Weather Officer here….the weather for the game is going to be horrible. Looking at rain with winds from the SSW as high as 35mph. Tough day for passing…. :-( Go ahead Panthers with your dominate run game and rush defense. GEAUX ‘hed ‘n BEAT dem Saints!!!

  • Pingback: Panthers Road Game Will Define 2013 Saints Season (Who Dat Dish) - New Orleans Saints News | Brees, Graham, Jordan, Galette, Payton

  • ahrcshaw

    There is no question this game is almost as big as the SB to both teams and it is a clean rivalry that is dominant in the NFC South, Unlike the other conferences the NFC South have never had a dominanent team like the 49ers, or NE, Dallas or NYG’s, So the fact of winning the NFC South is very important to all four team in this division. That said the Season for any of the teams means winning the NFC South standings and that is what is on the line with this game.

    The Panthers will win, because they have more to prove then the Saints and the game is on their home turf, plain and simple and because I said so. Go Panthers and pound those Saints.

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