Watch NFL Thursday Night Football Live Streaming New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers Live Online Week 9 Thursday Night match will be kick off at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, Thursday 30 October 2014 online, Time 20:25 ET and its broadcast cbs,espn,Fox,NFL Network Online.
The Saints can overtake Carolina for the top spot in the weak NFC South by avoiding an eighth straight regular-season road defeat Thursday night against the struggling Panthers.
Drew Brees threw for 311 yards with three touchdowns, Mark Ingram ran for a career-high 172 and New Orleans forced three turnovers in Sunday night’s 44-23 victory over a Green Bay team that averaged 36.3 points in its previous four games.
While the Saints (3-4) have reason to feel confident following their most impressive performance of the season, they’ve also maintained perspective.
‘The important thing to understand and realize is that winning a game is not arriving,’ right tackle Zach Strief said.
Though New Orleans won 26-24 at Philadelphia in last season’s wild-card round, its last regular-season road victory came on Nov. 21 at Atlanta.
The Saints, however, have been competitive this season away from the Superdome. New Orleans ranks 29th while yielding an average of 31.3 points in its four road contests, but it led late in the fourth quarter of three that were decided by a combined six points.
‘You look at how we’ve lost three of those four road games and you say, `We made some critical errors at the end,” Strief said. ‘It’s not that we were getting dominated on the road.’
Coach Sean Payton isn’t putting too much emphasis on his team’s road issues or that they can surpass Carolina (3-4-1) for first place in a division where no team has a winning record.
‘Certainly there’s all sorts of goals and there’s big picture, small picture and I think what we’ve tried to do is really focus on the smallest picture – and that’s our own team getting better,’ he said.
Payton should be pleased with the NFL’s second-ranked offense that’s seventh in rushing (133.0 yards per game) and second in yards per carry (5.1). The Saints finished 26th in rushing over the previous two seasons, averaging 95.3 yards and slightly over four per attempt.
Though a now-healthy Ingram broke out after rushing for 159 yards in his first three contests, the Saints have gone 21 straight regular-season and playoff road games without a 100-yard rusher since Pierre Thomas gained 110 in a 35-27 loss at Carolina on Sept. 16, 2012.
Perhaps that drought will end against the Panthers, who rank 28th in rushing defense (135.2) and last in yards per carry (5.2).
After giving up at least 37 points four times in the previous five games, Carolina held firm against Seattle until Russell Wilson hit Luke Willson with 47 seconds left Sunday for the game’s only TD in a 13-9 home defeat.
The Panthers have won once since starting 2-0.
“If you said at the start of training camp or OTAs, ‘hey, you have a chance in Week 9 to be playing for first place, would you take it?’ Yeah, I’d take it,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula told the Panthers’ official website. “That’s the mindset. You have to keep moving forward and forget about what’s happened.”
Shula must find a way to end the red zone problems that continue to plague the Panthers, who made three trips inside the Seattle 20 but came away with six points. Carolina’s 46.2 percent TD efficiency in that area ranks 28th.
‘It’s tough when you don’t score touchdowns and miss opportunities,’ coach Ron Rivera said. ‘You have to make hay down in the red zone.’
Carolina hopes to benefit from the return of running back DeAngelo Williams, who has missed six games due to injuries, including the last four with a bad ankle. Williams, who gained 72 yards on 14 carries in a season-opening win at Tampa Bay, is expected to share time with Jonathan Stewart.
‘It’ll be a nice boost,’ said Rivera, whose team ranks 27th with 92.9 rushing yards per contest. ‘When he and Jonathan get rolling and doing the things they do that’s a huge thing for us. That could be a nice shot in the arm.’
Williams, who ran for a career-high 210 yards at New Orleans in 2012, gained 67 in a 17-13 home victory over the Saints on Dec. 22.
Cam Newton was held to 181 passing yards and sacked four times in that contest, but he hit Domenik Hixon for a 14-yard TD pass with 23 seconds left to secure the Panthers’ first playoff berth since 2008.
Newton has thrown four TDs, run for two and been picked off twice while going 2-1 at home versus New Orleans.
Brees has two touchdowns, four interceptions and a 73.1 passer rating while losing the last two at Carolina.