CAROLINA (11-5) at NEW ORLEANS (11-5)
Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE - Saints by 5+
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Carolina 9-7, New Orleans 8-8
SERIES RECORD - Panthers lead 24-22
LAST MEETING - Saints beat Panthers 31-21, Dec. 3, 2017
LAST WEEK - Panthers lost to Falcons 22-10; Saints lost to Buccaneers 31-24
AP PRO32 RANKING - Panthers No. 7, Saints No. 6
PANTHERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (19), RUSH (4), PASS (28)
PANTHERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (3), PASS (18)
SAINTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (2), RUSH (5), PASS (5)
SAINTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (17), RUSH (16), PASS (15)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - NFC South rivals meeting in playoffs for first time. ... Teams had 12 games against common opponents, with Carolina going 10-2 and Saints 8-4. ... Panthers in playoffs for fourth time in five seasons. Lost in Super Bowl to Broncos two seasons ago. Missed playoffs last season. ... Ron Rivera is first Panthers coach with four playoff appearances. ... Carolina ranked third in NFL in sacks with 50 and was only team in NFC with two players getting 10-plus sacks each. DEs Mario Addison and Julius Peppers each had 11 sacks during regular season. ... Panthers TE Greg Olsen will play vs. Saints for first time this season after missing previous meetings with foot injury. ... Panthers QB Cam Newton has 10 TDs (eight passing, two rushing) in six career playoff games. ... Newton led NFL QBs with career-high 754 yards rushing, tied for league lead among QBs with six TDs rushing. He has three seasons with 700-plus rush yards, tied with Michael Vick for most by QB in NFL history. ... RB Christian McCaffrey ranked second among NFL rookies with 80 receptions, fourth most all-time by rookie RB. Ranked fourth among NFL rookies with 1,086 scrimmage yards. Set franchise rookie records in scrimmage yards and catches with 80. ... WR Devin Funchess led team with career-high 840 yards receiving, eight TD catches. ... LB Luke Kuechly was only Panther voted to Pro Bowl. Kuechly led team with 125 tackles, his sixth season with 100-plus, tied with LB Thomas Davis for most in team history. ... Saints are NFC South champions for first time since 2011, making first playoff appearance since 2013 season. ... Saints held tiebreaker over Panthers by winning both regular-season meetings. ... Saints in playoffs for sixth time since Sean Payton became coach in 2006. ... Saints were 7-1 at home this season, have won five straight home playoff games. ... QB Drew Brees completed 72 percent of passes, setting single-season NFL record. He ranked fourth in NFL with 4,334 yards passing, his NFL-record 12th straight season with 4,000-plus yards. ... RB Mark Ingram set career highs in yards rushing with 1,124 and scrimmage yards with 1,540. ... RB Alvin Kamara ranked second in NFL with 14 total TDs. Kamara was second among NFL rookies with 1,554 scrimmage yards. One of only two rookies in NFL history with five-plus TDs rushing, five-plus TDs receiving and at least one kick return TD. Other was Gale Sayers in 1965. ... WR Michael Thomas ranked third in NFL with 104 catches. He has 196 career receptions, most by player in first two seasons in NFL history. ... WR Ted Ginn spent three of previous four seasons with Carolina. ... DE Cameron Jordan tied for fourth in NFL with career-high 13 sacks. Jordan was only NFL DL with 10-plus passes defensed, including INT for TD. ... CB Marshon Lattimore leads Saints and all NFL rookies with five INTs.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL.