The Carolina Panthers (11-0) are looking to remain undefeated against an intriguing divisional opponent in the New Orleans Saints (4-7). While the Saints may only have four wins on the year, anytime you're up against the duo of Drew Brees and Sean Payton, opponents take notice.
For the Panthers, they've been focused in on the "one game at a time" mantra, while the rest of the world talks about the potential of this team going undefeated. Cam Newton is in the MVP mix, and may very well be the favorite at this point. Can he pick apart a defense in New Orleans that has struggled mightily all season long?
Here's what the Panthers must do to remain undefeated:
1. Time for the Cam show
If there was ever a game that we should expect to see Newton light up the scoreboard, this one is likely it. The Saints have been absolutely rolled over by opposing quarterbacks this season, allowing 3,286 yards, 30 touchdowns and intercepting just five passes. Newton has thrown 20 touchdowns this year, and is just five away from topping his most in a single season to this point in his career. Expect Newton to pace the offense in Week 13 and to have another stellar showing, as his big year (without Kelvin Benjamin, let's not forget) continues.
2. Send defensive pressure in the face of Drew Brees
Brees has thrown 10 interceptions this season, while also being sacked 25 times. Currently, Carolina has the most interceptions in the league with 18, and the third-most sacks at 33. Basically, this defense should be able to add on to those defensive numbers on Sunday if they can keep up the intensity. While there's no reason to think they won't, expect the Saints to attempt to do everything in their power to keep Brees from facing an overwhelming amount of pressure.
3. Target Greg Olsen early and often
While we know the Saints have struggled against opposing quarterbacks, their biggest issue in the pass game has been shutting down tight ends. New Orleans has allowed 64 receptions for 860 yards and 10 touchdowns this season to the position, which obviously bodes well for Olsen. When an opponent is weak against the position that one of your top offensive players plays, it usually becomes a focal point to connect with them right out of the gate. Expect Olsen to have a big day while running wild against this Saints defense.