Vikings will play Panthers-Saints victor in divisional round

Linebacker Shaq Thompson and the rest of the Panthers defense are looking for some redemption against the Saints in their third meeting this season

The NFC South champion Saints (11-5) host NFC South runner-up Carolina (11-5) at 3:40 p.m. Sunday on FOX in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In Week 3, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was phenomenal, passing for 220 yards and three scores. Both rushed for more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage with Kamara perhaps the most electric of the two.

And he'll face an added obstacle by matching up against Saints Pro Bowl corner (and defensive rookie of the year candidate) Marshon Lattimore, who missed both regular-season games against Carolina.

Payton downplays the regular-season wins over Carolina now, reminding everyone that the playoffs are a single game elimination tournament, but the Saints have to be in the Panthers head, if only just a little bit. If linebackers Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson can hold New Orleans to short runs and keep passes out of the backfield to a minimum, they will provide their team an opportunity to win.

"It's going to be a big deal for us to get the running game going early", running back Cameron Artis-Payne told USA TODAY Sports.

Wideout Russell Shepard, who joined Carolina from Tampa in the spring, remembers the Panthers being picked to finish last in 2015, when they went on to finish 15-1.

He can't play like he did in a 34-13 loss to the visiting, then-winless Saints in Week 3, when he threw three interceptions, got sacked four times, posted a 43.8 QB rating and didn't look fully healthy from off-season shoulder surgery.

County students on 2-hour delay Wednesday
Luten said that 81 buses wouldn't start this morning, but by 9 a.m. more than 70 had been fixed and were running. One parent who spoke with CBS North Carolina said he thought the problems could have easily been avoided.

The Jaguars advanced to face the second-seeded Steelers on January 14 in Pittsburgh. Even for players who weren't on the team's last injury report, the bye week carried plenty of value.

Tyrod Taylor has completed 7 of 10 passes for 55 yards, hitting seven different receivers. "That's something we that we have not done a good job of this year". That kicked off an eight-game winning streak that would be snapped by the Los Angeles Rams. "I think it brings hope for our fans and communities that their teams can turn it around".

Sunday, the New Orleans Saints have some fireworks planned of their own.

The NFL playoffs continue Sunday with a doubleheader starting in Jacksonville, Florida, where the Jaguars and Buffalo Bills ended lengthy post-season droughts to make a wild-card game.

If Jacksonville wins, it will play at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next weekend.

But, for me, it all boils down to the play of the quarterbacks in this survive-and-advance game, and the clear edge goes to Brees and a defense that will tug enough times on Superman's cape.

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