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Panthers can paint own playoff picture with victory over Saints

| 20.12.2013

The NFC South looks set to go down to the wire this season with the Carolina Panthers (10-4) and the New Orleans Saints (10-4) both vying for top spots in the division.

The latter’s recent comprehensive 31-13 victory over their rivals will make the 29/20 Saints the pick for some in this contest.

However, the 5/9 Panthers enjoy favouritism for good reason with their home form, coupled with New Orleans’s poor away record, a key indicator of how this match-up might be decided.

The hosts go in search of a seventh successive win at the Bank of America Stadium with Ron Rivera’s team averaging over 30 points during that sequence.

And with the Saints struggling away from the Superdome, having lost four of their last five road games, Carolina can pounce to secure a playoff berth.

Arguably, one of the main reasons for the 2009 Super Bowl champion’s travails on their travels has been a lack of offensive punch.

This might sound surprising given the stellar performances of quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for four touchdowns when these sides last met.

However, seven of his 10 interceptions have come on the road and the 34-year-old’s pass completion rate drops to just over 63 per cent when away from home soil, a big comedown from the standards that have helped establish the second-best passing offense in the league.

If similar figures are posted in Charlotte then it’s difficult to envisage the Saints mounting a significant challenge.

Against a rampant Panthers offense the visitors will already have enough to contend with, and that’s without having to worry about any trouble mounting attacks of their own.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.