Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has received a lot of credit all season for avoiding mistakes and taking the check-down pass. He did that again in New Orleans, but that only gets you so far. Newton doesn't have a receiver who can get vertical or an offensive coordinator adept at dialing up big plays. Newton averaged only 4.7 yards on 34 passing attempts.
The end of Carolina's eight-game winning streak is hardly a death knell for the team. At 9-4, the Panthers remain in terrific shape to lock up a playoff spot. Capturing the division is going to be much tougher.
The Panthers host the Saints in two weeks. Carolina could get revenge then, and it might not matter. In order to win the division, New Orleans just needs to win in St. Louis in Week 15 and hold serve at home against Tampa Bay in Week 17. The Saints, now 10-3, can lose in Carolina and still win the NFC South.
New Orleans is a different team at home. The Saints have put themselves in position to host a divisional-round game this season.