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Saints @ Panthers: Game Preview

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-3) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-6)

SERIES

 

SAINTS

PANTHERS

SERIES LEADER

17-14

STREAKS

2 of past 3

7 of past 10

COACHES VS. OPP.

Payton: 3-6

Fox: 11-6

LAST WEEK

W 20-10 vs. Steelers

L 20-10 at Rams

LAST GAME

10/3/10: Panthers 14 at Saints 16.  New Orleans QB Drew Brees completes 33 of 48 passes (68.8 pct.) for 275 yards & TD as Saints hold off Carolina. 

LAST GAME AT SITE

1/3/10: Saints 10 at Panthers 23.  Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart rushes for 125 yards, including 67-yard TD, as Panthers defeat New Orleans.

BROADCAST

FOX (1:00 PM ET): Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, Jim Mora.  SIRIUS: 91 (NO), 130 (Car.).  XM: 108 (Car.). 

STATS

PASSING

Brees: 234-331-2,334 (1C)-16 (1L)-11-92.6 (2C)

M. Moore: 76-137-844-5-10-55.7

RUSHING

Ivory (R): 66-332-5.0-0

D. Williams: 87-361-4.1-1

RECEIVING

Colston: 46 (3C)-527-11.5-2

Smith: 26-309-11.9-2

OFFENSE

365.1

251.4

TAKE/GIVE

-5

-10

DEFENSE

287.3 (3L)

301.7 (3C)

SACKS

Ellis: 3

C. Johnson: 3

INTs

5 tied: 1

Godfrey: 4 (T3L)

PUNTING

Morstead: 47.0 (2C)

Baker: 43.5

KICKING

Hartley: 39 (15/15 PAT; 8/12 FG)

Kasay: 35 (8/8 PAT; 9/10 FG)

 

NOTES

SAINTS In 3 career games vs. Car., QB DREW BREES has passed for 995 yards (331.7 per game) with 8 TDs & 2 INTs for 106.3 rating.  Since 2006, Saints are 30-6 (.833) when he has 100+ passer rating (min. 10 att.), incl. playoffs...In 3 career meetings (all w/ Dal.), RB JULIUS JONES has 311 rush yards (103.7 per game) with 3 TDs, incl. 194 yards & 2 TDs on 12/24/05.  In only career start vs. Car. (on 11/26/06 w/ Was.), RB LADELL BETTS rushed for 104 yards...In past 4, WR MARQUES COLSTON has 28 catches for 337 yards with 2 TDs.  Aims for 5th in row with 5+ rec. & 3rd in row w/ TD.  WR LANCE MOORE has 3 TD rec. in past 2 vs. Panthers.  WR ROBERT MEACHEM has scored 2 TDs vs. Car., incl. longest of career (54 yards)...LB JONATHAN VILMA has 2 sacks in past 4 & leads team with 50 tackles in '10.  DT SHAUN ELLIS leads team w/ 3 sacks & needs 1.5 to surpass career high (4 in '08).  CB LEIGH TORRENCE had 1st career INT last week vs. Pit...

PANTHERS QB MATT MOORE has won 5 of 7 career starts at home.  In those 7, has completed 117 of 188 (62.2 pct.) for 1,445 yards with 8 TDs & 4 INTs for 91.3 rating...RB DE ANGELO WILLIAMS ranks 4th in NFC with 2,993 rush yards since start of 2008.  In 4 career starts vs. Saints, Williams has rushed for 479 yards (119.8 per game) on 77 att. (6.2 avg.) with 3 TDs.  In career, when Williams has 18+ att., Panthers are 15-3 (.833).  WhenRB JONATHAN STEWART has 14+ carries, Panthers are 15-0...In past 10 vs. NO, WR STEVE SMITH has 820 rec. yards & 8 TDs (7 rec., 1 rush).  Rookie WR BRANDON LA FELL (3rd round) has 10 catches for 131 yards in past 2, incl. 1st career TD last week...LB JAMES ANDERSON has 37 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 FR & FF in past 4.  Anderson & DE CHARLES JOHNSON each had sack in last meeting.  S CHARLES GODFREY is tied for 3rd in NFL with career-high 4 INTs.  In 9 career meetings, CB RICHARD MARSHALL has 2 sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR & INT.

    

SEASON APPROACHES MIDPOINT...

PLENTY OF EXCITING FOOTBALL AHEAD IN SECOND HALF

Halfway there, almost nothing is clear.  That's the unpredictability of the NFL.

"We're halfway through the season," says New Orleans Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON.  "I think it's a very competitive league right now when you watch the games unfold.  We're seeing a lot of good football teams that are going to be playing well here in November.  I think our emphasis is to play well in this month and in December and to get better."

The games have been close - 28.2 percent (33 of 117) have been decided by three points of fewer - and the margin for error between wins and losses has been slim.  Entering Week 9, there are 21 teams with a .500+ record, the most in NFL history through the first eight weeks.  The previous high was 20 in 1989. 

"Every week you have to go out and prove yourself," says head coach JIM CALDWELL of the 5-2 Indianapolis Colts.  "It's tough in this league."

And there's plenty of football still left to be played, so don't count anyone out.  Since 2000, 27 teams have reached the halfway point of the season with a .500 or below winning percentage and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.  Last year, three teams - Baltimore (4-4), Green Bay (4-4) and the New York Jets (4-4) - accomplished the feat. 

Of those 27 clubs, five have advanced to their Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI. 

YEAR

TEAM

START

FINAL RECORD

PLAYOFF RESULT

2001

New England

4-4

11-5

Won Super Bowl XXXVI

2002

Tennessee

4-4

11-5

Advanced to AFC Championship Game

2002

Oakland

4-4

11-5

Advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII

2007

San Diego

4-4

11-5

Advanced to AFC Championship Game

2009

New York Jets

4-4

9-7

Advanced to AFC Championship Game

 

So as the season's midpoint approaches, it's all still to be decided.