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Sean Payton concerned over Saints' struggles on road

Sean Payton isn't ignoring the fact that his New Orleans Saints have played poorly on the road.

The Saints are 7-0 at home but just 3-4 on the road this season, including some bad losses. On Sunday, they visit the Carolina Panthers with the NFC South on the line.

NFL Media's Jeff Darlington asked the Saints coach Thursday if his team is frustrated by all of the questions concerning their road struggles.

"No, probably in fairness to that, maybe earlier in the year but those questions certainly are valid ones right now," Payton said, per the Saints' official website. "I think over our tenure here in 2006 we have played very well on the road and yet that is insignificant as it pertains to 2013. No I don't know that we necessarily embrace it or get frustrated with it, it is really you guys reporting what is accurate. Maybe three weeks ago after or two months ago after the Jet loss, but it is what it is right now though."

The Saints are scoring 14.5 fewer points per game on the road and averaging 85.4 fewer yards, Darlington points out.

Last week's loss to the St. Louis Rams epitomized the Saints' road struggles. New Orleans fell to a fellow dome team thanks to two early interceptions and failed red-zone opportunities. 

Payton, for his part, isn't running away from the narrative that his offense falters away from the Superdome.

"I think there are games where we can point to where we didn't play very well," he said. "I think it is more than anything else; it forces you as coaches, as players to look closely at hey, what can I do to improve how we play when we travel."

The Saints, 1-4 in their last five road games, are in desperation mode. Payton fired his kicker this week and pegged rookie left tackle Terron Armstead to make his first career start against the Panthers' vaunted front seven.

Let it be said that Sean Payton isn't afraid to be bold when faced with his team's faults.

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