Saints defeat Panthers for the third time this season

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"You try to enjoy as many of these moments as possible, because it's not gonna last forever".

Following Sunday night's NFC South clash between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the matchups have been set for next weekend as we get one step closer to the NFC Championship. But under pressure brought by defensive end Cameron Jordan, Newton was flagged for intentional grounding, leaving Carolina with a third-and-25.

But once the Saints were safe to celebrate, man, did they ever.

Also on display in the case, provided by the Hall of Fame in a tweet Friday morning, are game balls from Week 17, when quarterback Drew Brees finished the year with an National Football League record 72.0 completion percentage.

"That was huge, ' Brees said". You watch that closely on film, Drew kind of shuffled quickly to his right and found Ginn behind the coverage. "Because obviously there's plenty of struggle and plenty of adversity".

Panthers: Making eighth overall playoff appearance (eighth since the merger), 9-7 in postseason play (9-7 since the merger).

Saints: Move on to play at Minnesota in the NFC Divisional playoffs. The Saints lost their season opener to the 13-3 Vikings, 29-19, in Minneapolis. After an incompletion in the end zone, Vonn Bell sacked Newton with six seconds left. Two plays later, Brees hit ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who got behind Panthers cornerback James Bradberry for an 80-yard touchdown.

The 2017 season for the Saints has been all about a vastly improved defense, and the tandem of running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

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"I liked what we were doing down the stretch and I thought we had a chance to score on that last drive, you know, and I kind of feel like it was taken away from us", said head coach Ron Rivera.

"Everybody keeps talking about us and the things we've been able to accomplish".

"We've got the best fans in the world", he said. Saints quarterback Drew Brees took a knee, and it was over. He later completed pinpoint passes to Hill and Michael Thomas on another scoring drive.

Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Mark Ingram were unsafe enough, but Alvin Kamara has added a new layer to the offense, making the Saints as deadly as anyone on the offensive side of the ball.

Newton completed passes for 17 yards to receiver Devin Funchess and 21 yards to receiver Kaelin Clay that helped put the Panthers at the Saints' 26-yard line with 58 seconds to play. Thomas Davis, Kawann Short and Mike Adams all made appearances in the backfield.

According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Saints are 6.5-point home favorites to beat the Panthers, who opened as 5.5-point underdogs before the line climbed. Most of that had to with their relatively young defense and a rejuvenated offense.

And then came the game's most crucial call.

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