3 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers vs. Saints

(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel
(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Tre Boston /

The Carolina Panthers will lose, but make it interesting

The Carolina Panthers will appease the spurned fans who complained about the team’s win in Washington. They need a loss and some help to improve their draft stock and the Saints require a final-game victory and some help to get the number one seed and first round bye.

It should be obvious by now that the Panthers will not intentionally try to lose. But this game just means more to New Orleans.

However, I expect Carolina to stay in the game until the very end.

At home and against a division opponent, these players know what’s at stake. New Orleans has won the last three games in this rivalry, so the Panthers have a chance to end that streak and make the road to the Super Bowl tougher for their playoff-bound NFC South adversary.

Carolina also has the opportunity to stop New Orleans from being the first team to sweep the NFC South since the division was realigned in 2002. The good news is that the Panthers have the blueprint for keeping this game in reach.

Two weeks ago, Carolina couldn’t stop the run against Green Bay, but sacking Aaron Rodgers five times and getting off the field on third down is what kept the Panthers in the game. Expect Matt Rhule’s men to do what they’ve done all season and keep this game close until the final whistle.