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The Saints failed to contend for homefield advantage by getting blown out by Seattle, so they must now fend off the Panthers for the division title and likely the second seed in the NFC. Nothing seemed to work for New Orleans in Seattle, especially Rob Ryan’s blitz-heavy approach for the defense.

Whether it’s Riverboat or Analytical Ron, Ron Rivera has done a tremendous job helping turn the Panthers defense into one of the better units in the league. Going against the Saints in the Superdome is going to be their biggest test of the regular season. At home, New Orleans is undefeated, winning by an average margin of 17 points.

The teams meet again in two weeks, so if anything the pressure is stronger on the Saints to hold serve while they have Carolina at home. Prior to last week’s drubbing of the lowly Buccaneers, the Panthers won three straight by four points or fewer. So far, the most impressive road win by the Panthers occurred during that stretch was beating the 49ers in San Francisco. Taking down the Saints tonight in the Superdome would easily eclipse that.