Can Panthers get revenge?
The Panthers are still seething about the Saints leaving their starters in to pursue records through the fourth quarter of New Orleans 45-17 win in Week 17 last season. Quarterback Drew Brees thought the Saints handled the situation with the utmost respect, saying New Orleans wanted to build momentum for the playoffs. But several Carolina players say they havent forgotten. They remember Roman Harpers cheap shot on Steve Smith and Cam Newtons place on the Saints bounty list, as well. No way the Panthers come out flat this week.
Remember the running game
The Panthers are coming off an embarrassing 10-yard rushing effort against Tampa Bay, which dominated the line of scrimmage early and forced offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to scrap his game plan. The Panthers get Jonathan Stewart back, which should help. Stewart is the tough, between-the-tackles runner Carolina needed last week. Establishing the run is essential.
After losing last week, the Panthers need to beat the Saints or face the possibility of a nightmarish start. The Super Bowl-champion Giants come to Charlotte in four days for a nationally televised Thursday night matchup. The following week the Panthers travel to Atlanta, which looks like the team to beat in the NFC South. The Redskins exposed major holes in the Saints secondary last week weaknesses that Newton, Smith and Co. have to exploit and get the offense back in gear. Joseph Person