Well, this season the New Orleans Saints have been running the ball much more than ever, terrorizing the league with the NFL's top running back tandem: Alvin Kamara and former Heisman Trophy victor Mark Ingram.
"Both teams ended the season 11-5, but while Carolina's Cam Newton - at 28 years old - still has plenty of years ahead of him, time might be running out on New Orleans" Drew Brees. The Saints swept both regular season games with a 31-21 victory on December 3 and a 34-13 victory on September 24.
Perhaps someone should take that broom and whack Payton over the head with it after he almost cost his team the game.
If the Panthers hope to win, they must find a way to limit not only Kamara but the entire rushing attack orchestrated by coach Sean Payton and the Saints. Coleman was the target on the Saints' first pass of the game, and he made an 18-yard grab in the two-minute drill just before the half. The Saints defeated the Panthers twice this season. The Panthers had a first down on the Saints 26-yard line with 58 seconds left but heavy pressure by All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan a couple plays later induced an intentional grounding penalty on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
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The Panthers' lone lead in the two regular season games came courtesy of a field goal at the start of the Week 3 matchup.
He can't play like he did in a 34-13 loss to the visiting, then-winless Saints in Week 3, when he threw three interceptions, got sacked four times, posted a 43.8 QB rating and didn't look fully healthy from off-season shoulder surgery.
Having said that, should the Panthers somehow steal one here, they immediately become a team no opponent will want to see going forward. The Saints relentlessly pressured Newton, sacking him four times.
"I think this team is at its best when doubt is overwhelming against them", Shepard said on the Panthers website. They've got that part covered, by the looks of it.
The No 8 overall pick out of Stanford was strictly a third down back behind veteran Jonathan Stewart, and neither have been very successful running the ball. For example, the Tennessee Titans allowed 59.7 yards per game to tight ends this season, which ranked seventh-worst in the NFL per Football Outsiders. He is the midday host at Sports 1280 New Orleans, Midday Host Weekdays-Noon-2pm at Sports 1280 New Orleans/101.1 FM and Television Host at WLAE-TV.