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Panthers-Saints matchup is a rarity, with sugar on top

Do you know how rare this is?

All of it, I mean.

The Panthers are on an eight-game regular season winning streak (never has happened). The Panthers have been “flexed” into a Sunday night game with playoff implications out of what used to be a Sunday 1 p.m. game (has happened, but the last time was in 2008 against the New York Giants).

New Orleans and Carolina are both 9-3, meeting in the first bout in a two-game, 15-day, home-and-home series (never has happened).

Me going to Cafe du Monde to load up on coffee and beignets and getting powdered sugar all over myself right before a game at the Superdome (all right, that has happened a few times).

As you can imagine, however, no one keeps a list of such families. If you are in one of these families or know of one I could contact to talk about what the ball means to them and so on, please email me at

All week I have planned to pick the Saints. And yet that Monday night game keeps giving me pause. I know it was in Seattle, but it was a blueprint. And the Panthers should have Charles Johnson back. And they have a ton of confidence. And I just have a hunch. Could be a bad one. Could be too many beignets. But I’m picking: Carolina 33, New Orleans 29.