Thursday Night Football Preview: Saints vs. Panthers

The NFL kicks off Week 9 on Thursday night on NFL Network when the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-4) take on the CAROLINA PANTHERS(3-4-1) at Bank of America Stadium (NFLN, 8:25 PM ET).

 

This will be the 39th matchup between the two clubs, with Carolina leading the series 20-18. The Panthers have also won three of the past four matchups.

 

Carolina heads into Thursday night following a 13-9 loss against Seattle last week.

 

“We didn’t play our best football on Sunday,” says Panthers quarterback CAM NEWTON. “The next opportunity awaits on Thursday and I’m anticipating that to be a great game for us.”

 

In the loss, rookie wide receiver KELVIN BENJAMIN (Round 1, No. 28 overall) had four catches for 94 yards, including a career-long 51-yard reception in the fourth quarter to set up one of the team’s three field goals. Benjamin currently leads NFC rookies with 571 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

 

The Saints head into Thursday night also getting key contributions from their first-round rookie receiver. BRANDIN COOKS (Round 1, No. 20 overall) had six catches for 94 yards and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Saints’ 44-23 win over Green Bay onSunday Night Football. Cooks is the first Saints rookie to score on both a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown in the same game since 2006 (REGGIE BUSH, December 3, 2006 vs. San Francisco). Cooks leads all rookies with 40 receptions and is fourth among rookies with 372 receiving yards.

 

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 311 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 138.4 passer rating in the Saints’ win last week.

 

Since joining New Orleans in 2006, Brees has led the Saints to 22-10 (.688) record in primetime games (any game that starts 7:00 PM or later on the East Coast), the third-best record of any team during that span. With a win on Thursday night, New Orleans can tie the New England Patriots (23) for the second-most wins in primetime since 2006.

 

“There’s no more important game than this quick turnaround, the Thursday night game at Carolina,” says Brees. “This was the team that won the division last year. We are going to need our best performance to beat them.”

 

Brees has 78 touchdown passes during primetime games, trailing only PEYTON MANNING (97) for the most during that span. His 9,639 passing yards are also the fourth-most on primetime since 2006.

 

The most passing yards and touchdowns during primetime games since 2006:

 

PASSING YARDS   TOUCHDOWN PASSES
PLAYER TEAM YARDS   PLAYER TEAM TOUCHDOWNS
  Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 11,246   Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 97
  Eli Manning New York Giants 10,222   Drew Brees New Orleans 78
  Tony Romo Dallas 9,813   Eli Manning New York Giants 70
  Drew Brees New Orleans 9,639   Tony Romo Dallas 69
  Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh 9,365   Tom Brady New England 67

 

 

WEEK 9 - THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-4) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-4-1)

SERIES

SAINTS PANTHERS
THURS. RECORD 4-4 1-3
SERIES LEADER   20-18
STREAKS   3 of past 4
COACHES VS. OPP. Payton: 7-7 Rivera: 3-3
LAST WEEK W 44-23 vs. Packers L 13-9 vs. Seahawks
LAST GAME 12/22/13: Saints 13 at Panthers 17. Carolina RB DeAngelo Williams rushes for 67 yards, including 43-yard TD. Panthers DE Greg Hardy has 3 sacks & LB Luke Kuechly records 24 tackles.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/22/13
BROADCAST NFL Network (8:25 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Mike Mayock, Derek Rackley (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 93 (NO), 92 (Car.). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (NO), 226 (Car.).

STATS

PASSING Brees: 205-295-2227-14-7-97.4 Newton: 137-228-1643-8-4-86.6
RUSHING Ingram: 58-331-5.7-4 Stewart: 58-217-3.7-1
RECEIVING Cooks (R): 40-372-9.3-2 Olsen (TE): 42-509-12.1-5
OFFENSE 445.3 332.5
TAKE/GIVE -6 +4
DEFENSE 390.4 378.5
SACKS Galette: 4 Addison: 4
INTs 5 tied: 1 Harper: 3
PUNTING Morstead: 44.3 Nortman: 48.3
KICKING S. Graham: 59 (20/21 PAT; 13/14 FG) Gano: 63 (15/15 PAT; 16/18 FG)

NOTES

SAINTSIn past 5 meetings, QB DREW BREES has 3 games w/ 4+ TD passes. In those 3, has 1,098 yards (366 per game), 13 TDs, 2 INTs & 129.8 rating. Since joining NO in 2006, leads NFL with 40,960 pass yards & 297 TD passes… RB MARK INGRAM rushed for 172 yards & TD last week. Has rush TD in 2 of past 3 at Car…TE JIMMY GRAHAM aims for 6th in row vs. Car. with TD. Has 6 TDs in past 5 meetings. Since 2011, leads NFL TEs with 309 catches, 3,942 yards & 40 TDs. WR MARQUES COLSTON has 6 TDs in past 5 meetings, incl. 3 games with 2 TDs. Rookie WR BRANDIN COOKS had rush (4 yards) & rec. (50) TD last week…LB JUNIOR GALETTE has 4 sacks in past 2 meetings. DE CAMERON JORDAN has 5 sacks in past 5 vs. Car. Had 2 sacks last week & has 15.5 sacks in past 22. LB CURTIS LOFTON had sack in last game at Car…PANTHERS: QB CAM NEWTON has won 3 of past 4 starts vs. NO. Has won 9 of past 11 starts at home…In past 9 vs. NO, RB DE ANGELO WILLIAMS has rushed for 979 yards (108.8 per game) & 8 TDs. Has 2 of 3 best rush days vs. NO: 210 yards (12/30/12) & 178 yards (12/28/08). RB JONATHAN STEWART has 6 TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in 10 meetings…TE GREG OLSENhas 3 TDs in past 3 at home. Leads team with 5 rec. TDs, his 7th consecutive season with 5+ TDs. WR KELVIN BENJAMIN leads NFC rookies with 571 rec. yards & 5 rec. TDs. WR JERRICHO COTCHERY aims for 3rd in row vs. NO with 70+ rec. yards…In last meeting, LB LUKE KUECHLY had career-high 24 tackles & INT. In past 3 meetings, has 48 tackles (16 per game). Since entering NFL in 2012, leads league with 409 tackles. LB THOMAS DAVIS had 14 tackles & INT in last game vs. NO. DE CHARLES JOHNSON has 2.5 sacks in past 3 meetings. S ROMAN HARPER played 8 seasons with NO (2006-2013) & had 17 sacks & 7 INTs.

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