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Panthers vs. Saints 2016 live stream: Game time, TV schedule and how to watch online

Two disappointing NFC South teams can begin an in-season renaissance when Carolina and New Orleans meet in the Superdome.

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Two members of NFC South royalty have suddenly found themselves in the division's basement. One team can begin its 2016 turnaround on Sunday when the Panthers head to the Big Easy for a showdown with the Saints.

Cam Newton's and Drew Brees' teams have combined for a woeful 2-7 start this fall, giving Atlanta free reign over the conference through one-third of the season. While that start hasn't been especially shocking for a New Orleans team stuck at seven wins in three of its last four campaigns, it's been a rude awakening for a Carolina team who took home 2015's NFC crown.

Part of the problem has been an injured and ineffective Newton. The 2015 league MVP missed the tail end of a Week 4 loss to the Falcons after suffering a concussion on a second half two-point conversion. That kept him from the field in the following week's defeat against the Buccaneers. While Derek Anderson has been capable as a backup, it's clear Carolina misses its star quarterback.

But Newton wasn't himself before heading to the locker room against Atlanta. Or, more accurately, he was more like his rookie self. He had posted a career-low quarterback rating in four games to start the season and was responsible for as many turnovers (six) as touchdown passes. He's on pace to complete fewer than 58 percent of his passes for only the second time in his career.

Newton's completion rate and turnover problems compare favorably to his performances in 2011 and 2014. Unfortunately for Carolina, the team only won six and seven games, respectively, in those seasons. While the 2014 campaign ended with a playoff berth thanks to the then-pitiful state of the NFC South, the young passer won't have any such reprieve in 2016.

He hasn't been well served by his defense, either. The Panthers ranked sixth in scoring defense last season en route to a berth in Super Bowl 50. This fall they've slipped to 22nd thanks to a brutal early schedule. The teams who have defeated Carolina in 2016 have a combined 15-5 record.

New Orleans has had similar struggles, though not at quarterback. The Saints have been steady behind center thanks to the presence of venerable veteran Drew Brees. The 16-year pro has shown no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 40. The Louisiana icon is on pace for a 5,000-yard, 40-touchdown season despite his team's 1-3 start.

Instead, its a continually shoddy defense that's holding this team back in 2016. The Saints rank dead last in scoring defense after allowing opponents to score 32.5 points per game this fall. New additions Craig Robertson and Nick Fairley have been unable to turn around a unit ranked as one of the NFL's worst last season, and this inability to improve has New Orleans on the brink of wasting yet another solid year from Brees.

The Saints have proven they can come from behind and win a shootout, like they did in a 35-34 Week 4 road win over the Chargers. Only three teams in the league have scored more points per game than New Orleans, and a similarly explosive performance could leave Carolina in the dust on Sunday.

How to watch Panthers vs. Saints

Time: 1 p.m. ET

Location: The Superdome, New Orleans


Announcers: Sam Rosen, Daryl Johnston, and Laura Okmin

OnlineNFL Game PassSunday TicketVerizon NFL Mobile