TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 17: Carolina Panthers At New Orleans Saints

Panthers
Saints
Carolina Panthers 17 - Oakland Raiders 6
Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints
Quarterback
Cam Newton continues his late-season surge. The Panthers played dreadful football in the first half of the season, but they have been on their game in the second half. Newton has played with confidence and athleticism and has led the Panthers to four wins in their last five games. Newton has an 18-10 TD-interception ratio.
Winner Drew Brees won’t be going to the playoffs this season, but he led the Saints to a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. Brees and the Saints are certainly disappointed that there won’t be any playoffs, but they have not quite. Brees threw for 446 yards and three TDs vs. the Cowboys and he has thrown 36 TD passes this season.
Offense
The Panthers may have performed poorly in the first half of the season, but they are much-improved on the offensive end. Wide receiver Steve Smith has caught 70 passes for 1,101 yards and he is still one of the toughest receivers in the league. Tight end Greg Olsen can make the tough catches to keep drives alive on third downs.
Winner Wide receiver Marques Colston is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the league. He has caught 78 passes for 1,102 yards and 10 TDs. Jimmy Graham is a hybrid tight end who can make tough catches over the middle and stretch the field on deep patterns. Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas give the Saints a competent ground game.
Defense
Winner The Panthers have the talent to become a dominant defensive team next season. They rank 10th overall on defense and 10th against the pass. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy are both explosive pass rushers. The Panthers know that rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly will anchor their defensive for the next five years.
Winner The Saints struggle with positioning and tackling on the defensive side of the ball, but they do play with effort. However, they struggle to stop opponents through the air. They rank 31st overall in defense and 31st against the pass. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton has a team-high 118 tackles.
Special Teams
The Panthers have struggled on special teams. Graham Gano has done a decent job since being installed as the placekicker. Punter Brad Nortman has a net average of 35.7 yards per kick.
Winner The Saints have had a decent season in their special teams coverage. Punter Thomas Morstead has had a very impressive season. He is averaging 50.5 yards per punt and he has a net average of 44.4 yards per attempt. Placekicker Garrett Hartley has made 17-of-21 field goal attempts.

The Winner Is

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints
Winner Saints
4 out of 4

The Saints have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league, but they have never mailed it in. They continue to play hard and they are capable of putting on an explosive offensive show every time they take the field. The Panthers are rolling and will be tough to beat in the season finale.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammate quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

    The Ravens and Patriots meet again in Gillette in what should be another great game.

  2. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21in the first half of the game agains the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

    The NFC East rivals meet again in the Meadowlands as the Cowboys look to avenge their only loss of the year.

  3. SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is pressured by Christian Covington #95 of the Houston Texans during the first half of a game at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks travel to Lambeau for a match-up with the resurgent Pack.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It
Follow Us On Twitter

Listen Live