The New Orleans Saints have a home matchup against the Carolina Panthers in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs, and there is little to choose between them. Both teams finished the season with an 11-5 record in the NFC South and will head into the playoffs confident they can progress.
While the New Orleans Saints are favourites due to home field advantage, they also have one other huge weapon that looks set to be the difference here. That is the dynamic combination of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara at the running back position. Both players complement each other brilliantly, Ingram has the power running game while Kamara is lightning fast and can terrorise teams who leave him gaps to run in.
The rookie Kamara has been huge for the Saints this season and has 13 touchdowns to his name, along with a total yardage of over 1500. Ingram has also passed the 1500-yard mark, and he has 12 touchdowns this season, both players can produce on any given night. All that offence and we are yet to talk about Michael Thomas, who has thrived in New Orleans since the departure of Brandin Cooks. With the talented and experienced Drew Brees calling the plays, this Saints offence needs to be taken seriously by the Panthers, they are a fantastic unit to watch as well for the neutrals who will be tuning in.
The Carolina Panthers are a completely different type of team, but they are still a very effective outfit. One bright spot on their offence has been the emergence of Devin Funchess this season, who has scored eight touchdowns and provides them with a good red zone threat thanks to his big frame. Elsewhere, Cam Newton is always a great player to watch and whether he is throwing the football to others, or running it himself, he is a threat that the Saints have to try to nullify here.
Of all the wild card round games, this is the final one and looks to be the closest on paper. Both teams have very different styles, and although the Panthers are not as pretty to watch as some teams, they need respecting. However, the New Orleans Saints have an electric offence, led by two great running backs. Those two players can have a huge influence on this game and lead the Saints towards the next round with their play.