1.02amThis match is huge for both sides as it has major implications in the race for the playoffs. Either side will take control of the NFC South with a victory, which will leave the other team scrapping for a place in the Wild Card round.
1.03amBoth sides have identical records this season as they have 9 wins and three losses coming into the game but whoever wins will hold the tiebreaker in the clash, for now. They meet again in Carolina in fortnight.
1.04amThe Saints were crushed in their clash with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night as they were blown completely out of the water. Their defense could do nothing to stop Russell Wilson and their offense was completely shutdown.
1.05amHowever, they are completely different team at home inside a dome but they will face another stout defensive unit in this game as Carolina will make it their business to stop Drew Brees and company today.
1.07amLuke Kuechly has been outstanding for the Panthers this season at middle linebacker and along with Thomas Davis has made the middle of the field a dangerous place to tread for receivers and tight ends alike. They will be doing their utmost to stop 900-yard receiver Jimmy Graham today although that's far from an easy task.
1.09amGraham's hands, leap and catch radius make him almost impossible to stop and that is one of the reasons why he has 12 touchdowns this season. Teams have simply had no answer for him and Brees has exploited that to great effect. It may take two and possible three players to stop him effecting the game in a positive way for New Orleans.
1.12amIf you stop Graham, you still have the threat out of the backfield and the Saints have two good backs that can run the ball as well as catch in the form of Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. Sproles is especially effective with the in space with his low-centre of gravity and breakaway speed, again another handful for the Carolina defense.
1.15amAs mentioned earlier, New Orleans struggled to stop Russell Wilson on Monday night and it wasn't just his throwing that caused them problems. Their inability to keep him in the pocket was part of their downfall and if they struggled with him, it'll be even worse with Cam Newton.
1.16amNewton is built like a full back but runs like a running back and has pinpoint accuracy with his arm. He can shread you through the air and with his feet. Take a lot at this play against the New England Patriots a few weeks back.
1.18amThe 24-year-old has been making those sort of plays in his side's winning run and has been one of the mains reasons for their threat to the Saints at the top of the NFC South. However, Carolina also have a very dangerous power-run game, with a three-headed monster at running back, with Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. All three are primary backs in their own right and all three could harm the Saints this evening, either out of the backfield or through the tackles.
1.20amThe Panthers don't have too many options at receiver other than veteran Steve Smith but he has proved that he still has it 632 yards and three touchdowns this season. However, his action maybe limited as the Saints may opt to double cover him and send Newton elsewhere. Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn have made plays this season so they are capable but they are also very inconsistent.
1.22amNew Orleans's plan will be to get out into an early lead to force the Panthers away from their natural running game, which could forced the game into the arm of Newton and his receivers. For the Panthers, they want to control the clock and limit possessions to make it as close a contest as it can be, where hopefully it will be decided by one score.
Q1 15:00The Panthers will start at the 20 as Ginn takes a knee in the endzone from Morstead's kick.
Q1 13:38The Panthers move the chains immediately as Newton fires a short pass to LaFell on an out route on third and two for an 11-yard gain after Williams had got seven yards over the left side with a run on first and Tolbert a yard on second up the middle.
Q1 12:19Newton gets the first down himself this time as the Saints bring the rush on third and six as he escapes the pocket and runs down the right for a gain of 19 yards to the Saints' 39.
Q1 10:20The Panthers again convert on third down, this one was on third and nine and Newton had all sorts of time in the pocket to pick out Smith over the middle of the field to make the grab for 11 yards to move them to the 26. A flag was thrown for a pick play (an illegal block) but it was picked up due to the ball being thrown over the middle rather than the right, where the block occurred.
Q1 9:07SACK! Newton is dropped for a loss on third and four as Gallette gets him in the pocket and sacks him for a loss of seven yards at the 27. That will leave Graham Gano with a 45-yard field goal.
Q1 7:03The Saints go three and out as Brees's pass to Colston is dropped by the receiver on a slant route over the middle after Sproles was dropped for no gain on a short pass on second and the quarterback was forced to scramble for four yards on first. Morstead's punt is returned to the 50 by Ginn and you can add 15 yards onto that for a horse-collar tackle.
Q1 6:19The Panthers get rolling with a first down as Newton hands the ball off to Williams and he gets nine yards on his first carry and comes back with two on his second to move the chains at the Saints' 21.
Q1 4:04Tolbert gets a big six yards on third down as he gets the handoff and finds a hole and charges over Jenkins to get the first down after Ginn got three yards on a short pass on second. That moves the Panthers to the Saints' 11.
Q1 1:59The Panthers can't find the endzone on three plays on goal downs as Newton throws over the head of his tight end Olsen on third as none of his receivers could get open. That will force Gano into a kick from 24 yards.
Q2 13:35The Saints take the lead in the game as Brees gets all the time in the world in the pocket on second and goal and on his third look into the endzone he finds Colston over the middle for the eight-yard score, as he found space in the zone.
Q2 12:45The Panthers move the chains immediately as Williams gets two carries worth five yards on first and then over the left side of the line six yards to move his side to their 31.
Q2 11:22Newton fires over the middle of the field to Olsen who makes the grab for 13 yards on second down to move the chains after Williams got three yards on first, that moves them to their 48.
Q2 8:28The Panthers can't move any further downfield as Smith is dropped for a three-yard loss on a screen play on first down and Newton only gets seven back on second leaving a third and six situation and it yields only a one-yard gain from Olsen on a short pass. Norton punts for the first time and it's gathered at the Saints' 14 by Sproles.
Q2 8:22Brees gets the Saints moving as he fakes the handoff to Thomas and drills the ball over the middle of the field to Colston who makes the grab for 13 yards despite the coverage of Munnerlyn.
Q2 7:20Another first down for the Saints as Brees goes to Graham for the first time of the game as he gets eight yards on a hitch route before he's stopped by Mikell. Ingram comes in on the next play and powers through the middle to move the chains with a three-yard carry.
Q2 6:38Brees is rolling now as the Saints pick up another first down as he fires the ball to Stills on a comeback route down the left sideline and the receiver makes the grab despite being fouled for a 14-yard reception to move them to the Carolina 43.
Q2 5:50The Saints are well and truly in gear now as Watson makes an excellent acrobatic catch to get the first down to move his side to the Carolina 23 with a turning grab, whilst both feet were in the air.
Q2 4:16Robinson gets the chains moving with an eight-yard run as Brees fakes the handoff to the full back and flicks the ball to Robinson over the left side and he runs to the Carolina nine.
Q2 3:33The Saints get another set of downs as they will have first and goal at the four-yard line after Mitchell is guilty of pass interference for blocking off Moore as he tried to catch Brees's pass on a slant route over the middle of the field.
Q2 2:44Brees connects with Colston in the endzone as the receiver goes up high to make a jumping grab over the middle for the 15-yard touchdown as no defender was anywhere within reach, making up for their previous effort seconds beforehand which was chalked off for holding.
Q2 0:18Brees gets all the time in the world to sit back and he finds Graham over the middle on a crossing route and he is able to walk into the endzone to extend his side's lead to 15 points. Brees is putting on a clinic at the moment.
Q2 0:00Newton just hands the ball off to Williams and that ends the half.
Q2 0:00HALF TIME: Carolina Panthers 6-21 New Orleans Saints
2.52amThe Saints lead at the break as they took command of the game in the second quarter as Brees and his receivers connected for three touchdowns in 13 minutes. It was a combination of great protection by the Saints offensive line and precise throwing by Brees to dissect the Panthers defense.
2.55amAfter a decent start the Panthers seem to crumble on offense as they drove down the field with ease but were forced to settle for field goal in their opening two possessions. They started to lose momentum and that affected the confidence of the whole team. They will need to get into gear quickly after half time to get back into this game.
3amBrees's stats in the first half were, 17-21 for 183 yards and three touchdowns passes. Incredible numbers.
Q3 14:56Brees will start at the 16 following Cadet's return.
Q3 13:58Interesting call from head coach Sean Payton as he turns down the offer of a penalty which would have given his side a first down and five in favour on second and three, on second Thomas gets stuffed at the line and on third Brees's pass falls incomplete over the middle. Morstead's punt is out of bounds at the Carolina 30.
Q3 13:07The Panthers move the chains as Stewart gets the handoff through the middle and he reels off 16 yards before he gets brought down at the Carolina 49 after a short pass from Newton had left a second and seven situation.
Q3 12:20Stewart gets another 16-yard gain this time thanks to short swing pass from Newton as he coasts into the open space down the left sideline and gets knocked out of bounds at the Saints' 35.
Q3 10:49The Panthers get stuck as their drive comes to an end as Newton's short pass to Olsen can only yield four yards to leave a fourth and five situation but rather than going for it they will attempt a 49-yard field goal.
Q3 10:20Gano misses for just the third time this season as his kick sails to the right of the right post and goes wide. Not what the Panthers need and Brees will take over at the Saints' 41.
Q3 8:50The Saints move the chains as Brees fires to Graham in the slot as he races over the middle of the field for a 15-yard gain to shift his side to the Carolina 40.
Q3 7:27Another third down conversion as Brees fires to Stills as he raids inside from the left sideline on an incut for an eight-yard gain to move the Saints to the Carolina 27.
Q3 6:34Brees evades several rushers with quick feet in the pocket and he finds time to somehow pick out Colston down the right with a lofted pass and the receiver makes the grab for the 15-yard reception to move them to the 12.
Q3 5:12The Saints extend their lead as Brees fires over the middle of the field to Colston and he makes the grab and goes over the goalline for the touchdown before Mitchell can make the tackle to stop him. The play is under review though.
Q3 5:12Colston's knee was down just short of the goalline as Mitchell made contact with him and the Saints instead of six points will have a first and goal at the one-yard line.
Q3 4:21The Panthers defense make the stand to deny the Saints from getting the touchdown as on first they stop Collins for a one-yard loss on a reverse handoff, on second Brees's pass for Graham is caught out of bounds and on third Brees is forced to throw the ball away under pressure. That will leave a 19-yard field goal for Hartley.
Q3 4:18Hartley makes no mistake with his chip shot to hand the Saints an 18-point lead.
Q3 4:12Ginn returns the ball to the Carolina 27 where Newton will begin.
Q3 3:36The Panthers get a first down as Newton fires over the middle of the field for Olsen and he makes the grab for a 10-yard reception to move his side to their own 41.
Q3 1:55SACK! Newton goes down for a seven-yard loss as Galette gets him as he tries to escape the pocket on third and nine and he brings him down to force the punt. Norton's punt takes a bad bounce and lands at the Saints' 38.
Q3 1:09The Panthers finally get some pressure on Brees and it forces an incompletion on third as the Saints failed to recover from a false start penalty, which cost them five yards. Morstead's punt is fair caught at the Carolina 23.
Q3 0:10The Panthers move the chains right before the end of the quarter as Newton takes the snap and runs right through the line for a 10-yard gain on third down and nine. That was crucial. They will start the fourth 18 points down and at their own 33.
Q3 0:00END OF THIRD QUARTER: Carolina Panthers 6-24 Carolina Panthers
Q4 13:38SACK! Newton is dropped again for a sack as Jordan tackles him in the pocket for a seven-yard loss after a big gain was wiped out for an illegal hands to the face penalty by Bell. Norton's punt is collected by Sproles and returned to his side's 41.
Q4 12:53The Saints get a huge break as Munnerlyn is called for holding on Colston as the receiver dropped Brees's pass over the middle. That will move them five yards downfield and give them another set of downs.
Q4 12:28Brees and Colston combine for the ninth time of the game as he fires to him for an 18-yard completion on third down to move the Saints to the 35-yard line of the Panthers. A score here will surely kill the game off.
Q4 10:36Brees gets the first down to move his side into the redzone as he finds Graham over the middle of the field for a 22-yard gain and that will move the quarterback over 50,000 yards of passing in his career. What an achievement.
Q4 5:15The Panthers get into the endzone as they go for it at fourth and goal on the 17-yard line and Newton escapes the rush and drills the ball into Smith in the endzone who makes the catch despite pressure from Lewis.
Q4 5:09The Panthers try an onside kick but Gano's kick doesn't go the required 10 yards and the Saints gather at the Carolina 44.
Q4 2:56The Saints go three and out as a personal foul penalty backs them up 15 yard as he shoved Hardy and Brees couldn't get the yardage back leading to a punt from Morstead which went out of bounds at the Carolina 10.
Q4 2:00The Panthers seem to have given up at the two-minute warning as Newton fires short to LaFell for two yards then hands the ball off to Williams for three yards.
Q4 1:06Newton just escapes the pocket on third down but he can't get the yardage for the first and Norton just punts the ball away to the Saints' 30.
Q4 0:00Brees kneels out the game for the win. A crucial victory for the Saints.
Q4 0:00FULL TIME: Carolina Panthers 13-31 New Orleans Saints
4.30amThe Saints cruise to victory in this clash and now all but secure their place in the playoffs as they move to 10-3 in their season and now have control over the NFC South as they hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers.
4.32amBrees was brilliant and wrestled control away from the Panthers after they took an early lead. He found Colston with ease as the visitors could do nothing to stop the duo and when they doubled the receiver, he went to his tight end Graham and was just as dominant.
4.33amThe Saints pass rush was all over Newton in this game and didn't give him a chance to settle in the pocket as Galette and Jordan were on top form. They also managed to contain his running ability to stop him breaking out and picking up cheap yards. An excellent performance.
4.35amThis is a game the Panthers will want to forget quickly and they need to keep winning to secure their place in the playoffs as Dallas, Arizona and San Francisco are all searching for the Wild Card place.
4.38amThanks for joining our commentary this morning. We'll be back with all the action from Monday Night Football when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Chicago Bears. Until then, goodbye.