Panthers look to snap string of close losses vs. Saints

NEW ORLEANS (4-5) at CAROLINA (3-6)

Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

OPENING LINE – Panthers by 4 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Saints 6-3, Panthers 3-6

SERIES RECORD -Panthers lead 23-20

LAST MEETING -Saints beat Panthers 41-38 on Oct. 16

LAST WEEK – Saints lost to Broncos 25-23; Panthers lost to Chiefs 20-17

AP PRO32 RANKING – Saints No. 21 (tie), Panthers No. 25

SAINTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (21), PASS (1).

SAINTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (29), RUSH (19), PASS (32).

PANTHERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (12), RUSH (11), PASS (15).

PANTHERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (15), RUSH (2), PASS (24).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Saints QB Drew Brees threw for 465 yards and four TDs vs. Carolina on Oct. 16. … Brees ranks second in NFL with 2,992 yards passing and is tied for league lead in TD passes (24). Brees has 14 TD passes in last five games. … RB Mark Ingram has four TDs (2 rushing, 2 receiving) in past three away games. … WR Willie Snead had two TD catches vs. Denver. … WR Michael Thomas leads all rookies in receptions (51), yards receiving (613) and TD catches (5). … TE Coby Fleener had TD catch and TD run in Week 6 vs. Carolina. … CB B.W. Webb had four pass breakups in last meeting. … S Kenny Vaccaro has at least seven tackles in past four meetings with Carolina. … Panthers are 2-3 at home after going 10-0 last season, including playoffs. … Panthers have lost four games this season by combined 10 points. … Panthers QB Cam Newton Is only player in NFL history with 20,000 yards passing (20,257) and 3,000 yards rushing (3,486) in first six seasons. … WR Devin Funchess has TD catch in last two games vs. Saints. … TE Greg Olsen has 23 receptions for 357 yards in last three games vs. Saints. … Olsen ranks first among NFL tight ends with 50 catches for 712 receiving yards… C Ryan Kalil has missed the last two games with shoulder injury. … DT Kawann Short has sack in last two home games. …Rookie CB James Bradberry had career-high eight tackles in Week 10. … Pass rush specialist Mario Addison has three sacks in last two games. … LB Luke Kuechly is averaging 10.6 tackles per game in eight meetings with Saints. Kuechly is second in NFC with 88 tackles. Fantasy Tip: Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart ran for 85 yards and two TDs vs. Saints in last meeting and has four TDs rushing in last four meetings.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL