Saints rout Panthers, settle for No. 2 in NFC

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
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The Saints took care of business against the Panthers on Sunday, but the Bears fell short against the Packers and that means there will be no bye for New Orleans.

With the playoffs up to seven teams in each conference this year, there’s only one bye available and Green Bay secured it with their win over the Bears. The Saints will have to settle for playing at home next weekend as the No. 2 seed after pasting the Panthers 33-7 in Charlotte.

They will get a chance to take out their frustrations on those same Bears. We’ll know soon whether that game will take place on Saturday or Sunday and the Saints will be pushing for Sunday so that running back Alvin Kamara can return from the COVID-19 reserve list in time for the game.

Kamara, Latavius Murray, and other backs were missing on Sunday, but Ty Montgomery got going in the second half and picked up 94 yards on 15 carries. Taysom Hill chipped in with 41 yards and a touchdown, but went to the locker room late in the fourth quarter after a visit to the medical tent.

In addition to the offensive exploits, the Saints Defense shut down the Panthers after halftime.

They intercepted Teddy Bridgewater in the end zone for the second time in the game and then picked off P.J. Walker on Walker’s first drive after replacing Bridgewater. Walker would throw two more picks and the quarterback play on Sunday could lead the team to step up efforts to find a long-term solution at the position.

The Saints have given thought to such questions in recent years, but Drew Brees remains in place and threw three touchdowns in Sunday’s win. He’ll try to push questions about his plans for 2021 further into the future by leading the team to a win over Chicago next weekend.