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New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. Sunday, FOX

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Panthers’ platoon at safety disbands in favor of Quintin Mikell

The Carolina Panthers’ platoon at strong safety has turned into a one-man show of late, with veteran Quintin Mikell getting the bulk of the reps he used to share with undrafted rookie Robert Lester.

Mikell played all 62 defensive snaps last week against the Jets, and Lester was in for two plays in place of free safety Mike Mitchell. But Lester, tied for second on the team with three interceptions, could see more action against the Saints.

“A lot of it has come with him coming back from the (ankle) injury. But we’ve worked him a lot more this week and I expect him to play a little bit more,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

Mikell has had at least five tackles the past three games. He collected one of the two sacks on Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the Week 14 meeting in New Orleans, forcing a fumble the Saints recovered.

“That’s one of the things you have to look at, too. Quintin has played well,” Rivera added. “But I think Robert, the work he’s put in the last couple of weeks, I think he’s getting back up to where we need him to play.”

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