Saints-Panthers rivalry becomes a trilogy in the playoffs
NEW ORLEANS/January 05, 2018(AP)(STL.News)— Saints coach Sean Payton takes a small measure of comfort in New Orleans’ regular-season sweep of Carolina.
It means the Saints (11-5) play the Panthers (11-5) in the Superdome, where New Orleans hasn’t lost a playoff game since 1992 and is 4-0 in the postseason under Payton.
Beyond that, however, the Saints coach asserts that teams evolve over the course of a season as they develop chemistry and adjust to roster or positional changes brought on by injuries.
And on Sunday, there will be a different psychology to performing in the postseason, when losing brings the season to a sudden end.
“Each game’s different,” said Payton, whose team took its first NFC South crown since 2011 by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over Carolina.
“From the midpoint of the season, when (Carolina) got on a roll, you can see the confidence grow with that team. And you’re also talking about a team that (two years ago) was in the Super Bowl,” Payton said. “The prior two games don’t matter.”
Payton pointed out that the Panthers not only defeated two of the top teams in the NFL this season — New England and Minnesota — but beat the Patriots on the road.