NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 and the offensive line of the New Orleans Saints pose after the game for a photo after Brees threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren Sproles #43 and broke the single-season passing record in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
The New Orleans Saints still need a win to get a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers would like to get back a game they nearly had early in the season.
The New Orleans Saints might be the most explosive team in the NFC right now. Drew Brees surpassed Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a single season, and his team looks mostly unstoppable. They still have some work to do. A win over the Carolina Panthers is necessary, along with a 49ers loss, for the Saints to get a bye week in the playoffs.
The last time these two teams met, in Week 5, the upstart Panthers gave the Saints a run for their money, losing by only three points. The Saints have tightened up since then, and they are now favored by anywhere from eight to nine and a half points, after opening the week as ten-point favorites.
As you might expect with two explosive offenses, the over/under is 55 points, highest of the week. The over would be a pretty safe bet, especially since there are stakes in this game.