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To win division, Panthers likely need to sweep Saints

Newton AP

Yes, the Saints and Panthers currently are tied atop the NFC South, with four games left to play — two of which will be played against each other.  Assuming New Orleans otherwise beats the Rams and Bucs and Carolina otherwise beats the Jets and Falcons, the Panthers will need to sweep the Saints to win the division, which likely comes with a first-round bye.

Assuming that the Saints and Panthers finish with the same record, a split of the two-games-in-14-days series will result in the Saints winning the division (and the likely bye) via the fourth tiebreaker for teams in the same division, record within the conference.  Because the Saints have lost two of their three games to AFC East teams (the Jets and the Patriots), the Saints necessarily have a better record against conference opponents, since the Panthers have lost two of their three games to NFC teams.

If the Panthers sweep the Saints, the Panthers would win the division on the first tiebreaker, even if the Panthers lose their other two games.

It likely would be better for other teams in the NFC playoff field for the Panthers to pull off the sweep and win the division (and the likely bye), given that it would force the Saints to go on the road in the wild-card round — and it would allow one of the wild-card winners to avoid going to the Superdome in the divisional round.

So, in all likelihood, Sunday night’s game will determine the NFC South title, and the likely bye that goes along with it.  For the Saints, that’ll mean quickly recovering from their drubbing in Seattle, and an even shorter short week, thanks to airplane trouble.

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15 Responses to “To win division, Panthers likely need to sweep Saints”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 3, 2013 9:06 PM

    And the saints go marching on….

    That’s it, the key. They need music to march. Dismantle their instruments and they will have no music and no peace. It would be so lovely.

  2. thepftpoet says: Dec 3, 2013 9:07 PM

    Carolina > New Orleans

    Defense wins championships.

  3. hemicharger says: Dec 3, 2013 9:13 PM

    While I understand the premise behind this article, the idea that this game will determine the outcome of the NFC South is pretty silly at best. There are 4 more games to go. Anything could happen.

    The Panthers or Saints could start sucking or they could fall victim to the dreaded injury bug. If Newton or Brees were to get hurt, both teams would be finished.

    Understand, this is a 16 game season, not a 12 game season.

  4. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 3, 2013 9:23 PM

    It’s still a little early to be writing W’s in the column of any team. Tampa and St. Louis are no walkovers and you never know how the Jets are going to show up.

    One this is for sure, we can pretty much count on the Falcons sucking when they play a good team so the Panthers have nothing to worry about there.

    I think it’s unfortunate for the Panthers that the Saints got beaten so badly on MNF. Usually when a team takes a beating like that, the next week they respond with all of hell’s fury.
    It also doesn’t help that the Panthers beat up the Bucs, giving them a false sense of confidence heading into the Superdome.
    Either way I hope to see a good game.

  5. sportsmeccabi says: Dec 3, 2013 9:29 PM

    Carolina has given New Orleans trouble regardless of how good they’ve been, even in their own dome. This is the first time that they’re bringing an elite team in there in quite some time.

    I’m so pumped for this game

  6. weekendatberniemadoffs says: Dec 3, 2013 9:44 PM

    despite public perception of the ‘superdome’, carolina fans have never feared playing the saints away. even with jimmy clausen we kept it tight. we swept them last year, and after last night i do not foresee this year being any different.

  7. offthelows says: Dec 3, 2013 10:00 PM

    Saints at Rams, I don’t see that as a win for New Orleans, so I think a split could get it done.

  8. grendelg says: Dec 3, 2013 10:29 PM

    So the Panthers need to sweep to win the division, but the division will likely be decided Sunday night? So you’re saying the Saints will win?

  9. jgedgar70 says: Dec 4, 2013 8:45 AM

    hemicharger says:
    Dec 3, 2013 9:13 PM
    While I understand the premise behind this article, the idea that this game will determine the outcome of the NFC South is pretty silly at best. There are 4 more games to go. Anything could happen.

    The Panthers or Saints could start sucking or they could fall victim to the dreaded injury bug. If Newton or Brees were to get hurt, both teams would be finished.

    Understand, this is a 16 game season, not a 12 game season.
    _____
    grendelg says:
    Dec 3, 2013 10:29 PM
    So the Panthers need to sweep to win the division, but the division will likely be decided Sunday night? So you’re saying the Saints will win?
    _____
    Florio is doing what every scientist does during experiments – he’s operating under some assumptions. Namely, he’s assuming the Saints and Panthers will win their 2 remaining games against inferior opponents, and he’s assuming the Saints will play poorly at Carolina, given their stark differences in home and road play. If you asume all those things go according to form, then yes, this week’s game will end up deciding who wins the division.

    The Panthers have had success in the Superdome over the years, and with a defense that’s only giving up 14 points a game, I think we’re better suited for a playoff run than the Saints. We’ll see Sunday and on 12/22. They should be great games.

  10. skippynj says: Dec 4, 2013 9:25 AM

    Ain’t gonna happen.

  11. kimbo71006 says: Dec 4, 2013 9:37 AM

    Panthers WILL NOT sweep the Saints. Sure they did last year, but last year they didn’t even have a HC, last year is not this year.

    So they lost to the Seahawks, a game they were projected to lose anyway–so what, teams have bad games, you just move on. I know as a fan, that game is now in the rearview mirror.

    The Saints are 12-0 in the Dome, they will remain that way and take down the Panthers…book it and count on it.

    After watching the Panthers play the Dolphins and Bucs in the last two weeks, if they try to play like that in NO, Saints are going to mop the floor with them. You can’t play that way in the Dome and expected to win.

    We are as dominant in the Dome as the Seahawks were on their home turf.

    GEAUX Saints!!

  12. thundastormz says: Dec 4, 2013 10:03 AM

    Panthers sweep Saints and win division. The worst defense in NFL history last year seems to be making a comeback starting against the Shehawks.

  13. aceboogie1 says: Dec 4, 2013 12:18 PM

    With that Week 4 Bye, we really need the Bye in the Playoffs.

    Although, that scares me in a way since Riverboat Ron and Cam are a combined 0-3 after Bye Weeks.

    But 2013 NFC South Division Champion sounds pretty good..

    Lets Go Black & Blue !! Keep Pounding!!!

  14. cursedvikings1998 says: Dec 4, 2013 12:28 PM

    Saints will win their two remaining home games for sure, which guarantees they finish 11-5. But the Panthers could still finish 12-4. Saints need to win on Sunday, and then win two more games to clinch the division and the #2 seed.

  15. buccaboo says: Dec 4, 2013 1:01 PM

    The Saints are in trouble! Go Panthers!

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