For a minute in Sunday afternoon, it looked as if the Carolina Panthers were not going to get their seventh straight victory and fall to 7-4 against the Miami Dolphins. That turned out to not be the case, however, and the Panthers are still nipping at the heels of the New Orleans Saints, who are 9-2 after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in their Week 12 Thursday night game.
This makes the upcoming Monday night game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 all that more important for Drew Brees and the Saints. Going up against Russell Wilson and the 12th man will not be an easy task and no one has been able to do so thus far, but if any team can defeat Seattle, it has to be New Orleans.
Should the Saints lose this game, however, it is very likely that they will be tied in the NFC South with the Panthers. Carolina will be hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, and despite Tampa Bay having a three-game win streak, I think the safe bet is that the Panthers will walk out of this game with a 9-3 record.
That is not necessarily a a terrible thing, just slightly uncomfortable with regards to the postseason. New Orleans plays some pretty good football when they face legitimate competition, and should the Panthers come even with the Saints after Week 13, there are still two head-to-head match ups to decide the fates of both teams.
I am not concerned just yet, but I would like to see a Saints victory in Week 13 and beyond. Home-field advantage throughout the playoffs would be spectacular, though unlikely. I think Seattle is poised to win out the rest of their schedule, perhaps with the exception of their road game against the San Francisco 49ers.