Saints must show some road power

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm •  Published: December 18, 2013
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The New Orleans Saints likely are headed to the playoffs, and they want as many games as possible to be played at the Superdome.

To get any postseason matches in the Big Easy, though, the Saints must find a way to win one on the road. Now.

New Orleans (No. 7 in the AP Pro32) travels to Carolina (No. 5, AP Pro32) on Sunday in a matchup basically to decide the division crown. Oh yeah, there's almost certainly a first-round playoff bye at stake given the weakness of the NFC East and North.

Saints coach Sean Payton recognizes the need for his team to wake up away from home. New Orleans (10-4) has lost at the Patriots, Jets, Seahawks and Rams this season. Most troubling, the Saints were handled quite easily in their last two road games.

"It's our job with an important game coming up to make corrections and then also to look closely at whom we are asking to do certain things," Payton said, perhaps threatening some lineup changes.

Hearing that concern on the Saints' side should be encouraging to fans of the Panthers (10-4), who had an eight-game winning string snapped two weeks ago in New Orleans. They then whipped the Jets while the Saints were falling to the Rams.

Carolina is 6-1 at home, the only defeat in the season opener to Seattle — merely the league's best squad right now.

"We'll be at home, which is huge," Panthers tackle Jordan Gross said. "The dome is a tough place to play and they were coming off a tough loss, so shame on us if we didn't see that coming. But, we're feeling confident again. We never really lost confidence after the last game, but it was definitely a bit of a wakeup call to go down there and lose like we did."

The Panthers, 3-point favorites, will win this time.

PANTHERS, 27-22

No. 30 Oakland (plus 10) at No. 16 San Diego

Chargers showing lots of life. Not so for Raiders.

BEST BET: CHARGERS, 37-13

No. 19 Dallas (minus 3) at No. 31 Washington



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