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Fleur-de-Links, December 17: Saints have rare opportunity to build lead on No. 1 seed

Thanks to the Rams loss, the Saints could move closer to securing the top seed in the NFL with a win over the Panthers.

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Saints News:

Holder: Who’s been the best free-agent pickup in the NFL this season? Look no further than Saints LB Demario Davis – The Athletic
Davis not only solidified the middle of the Saints' defense. He improved the front seven so much to where he’s a viable option to land a Pro Bowl roster spot.

Defeating the Panthers means the Saints will have to stop Christian McCaffrey – The Athletic
Through 13 games, the do-everything running back has 701 receiving yards and 926 rushing yards.

Panthers vs. Saints: It’s Ron Rivera’s time to shine - Cat Scratch Reader
Usually we criticize Rivera’s conservative approach. This time it’s different.

Saints vs. Panthers: Experts Predictions, Brees Calls For Better Offensive Play
The New Orleans Saints can strengthen their position as the number one seed in the NFC with a win over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

Almost every expert picking Saints over Panthers for Monday night game |
The experts are almost unanimously picking the Saints to win this week. Here's a quick review of their Week 15 predictions.

It’s time to figure out who the Saints really are
Did the Saints peak too soon? That’s a critical question to answer before Monday night’s road battle with the Panthers (ESPN, 8:20 p.m.), and if you’re...

Before facing Saints, Steelers beat Patriots and snap 3-game streak |
Pittsburgh’s last road victory against the Saints came in 1990.

Saints vs Panthers NFL betting picks and predictions: Will McCaffrey shred Saints?
The 11-2 Saints take on the Panthers on Monday Night football. These teams play each other twice over the next 13 days and there is no love lost between them, after the Saints knocked the Panthers out of the playoffs last season. We break down the best ways to wager this battle between NFC South rivals

Saints playoff picture: New Orleans gets massive boost with Rams' shocking loss to Eagles | Saints |
The New Orleans Saints secured a significant win Sunday without even playing a game.

NFL News:

Packers now hold No. 11 overall pick in 2019 NFL draft
If the season ended today, the Packers would pick at No. 11 in the 2019 NFL draft.

NFL Week 15: The 12 dumbest mistakes from Saturday and Sunday, ranked -
For the love of god, get out of bounds, Todd Gurley.

Biggest injuries of NFL Week 15, prognosis for Week 16
The latest on all the big injuries from our NFL Nation reporters, including the prognosis on each player for the rest of the season.

Nick Foles heads season-saving win for Eagles in familiar role -'s Michael Silver portrays the Philadelphia Eagles' 30-23 upset win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, and the familiar situation they find themselves in with Nick Foles at quarterback.

NFL Insider Notes: Frank Reich should be Coach of Year, give Chargers' GM credit and more from Week 15 -
Plus, Kevin Stefanski's impressive debut as Vikings' OC, Lamar Jackson's impact and more from around the NFL

The NFL's biggest surprises, and teams and players who could copy them in 2019
Who could go worst to first like the Bears? What about first to worst? Barnwell picks next season's breakout and regression candidates.

NFL playoff picture: Patriots fall behind Texans; Steelers stay ahead of Ravens | NFL | Sporting News

Ezekiel Elliott embarrassed by Cowboys' loss to Colts -
In the aftermath of a scoreless loss to the Colts, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is embarrassed by the defeat, but also believes it might very well have come at the right time of the season.

Tomlin gives kicker Chris Boswell vote of confidence -
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell aided in Pittsburgh's 17-10 win over the New England Patriots in Week 15 despite his recent struggles, and perhaps that had much to do with the confidence voiced by head coach Mike Tomlin.

NFL playoff picture: Most dangerous teams still in the hunt |
Seven teams still have a shot (even the smallest) at reaching the NFL playoffs. Which teams do the already-clinched teams least want to face in January?

Rams' loss to Eagles gives Saints chance to take 1-game lead in race for top spot |
If Saints win Monday, they'll need only one more win in final two weeks to get No. 1 seed.

NFL Week 15: A Wild Ride Through the Playoff Picture |
Big Sunday wins by the Steelers, Eagles and Vikings turned the momentum around for teams whose seasons seemed to be slipping away, while the Ravens have fully embraced Lamar Jackson for their run at the postseason. And yes, Baker Mayfield’s Browns have the look of a playoff team—if only they’d gotten an earlier jump on a needed change. Plus notes and nuggets on the coaching carousel, the draft and much more.

Why We Still Don’t Know How Many NFL Players Have CTE | FiveThirtyEight
Over the past few years, the NFL has been haunted by the early deaths of some former players whose brains showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE …

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^ Correction in above tweet. Though listed as a home game, the 2008 contest against the Chargers was played in London.