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FINAL: Saints defeat Panthers 31-26

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New Orleans, LA - The Saints start their 2018 Super Bowl run by closing out the NFL's Wildcard weekend against NFC South rival Carolina Sunday afternoon down in the Superdome.

The Saints and Panthers started the game struggling on offense until with 1:46 to go in the first quarter after a Carolina missed field goal, Drew Brees hit Ted Ginn Jr. for an 80-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

The Panthers would respond less than a minute into the second quarter with a 27-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game with 14:12 to go until halftime.

On the Saints next drive, the black and gold marched down the field to take a 14-3 lead with Brees finding tight end Josh Hill for the 9-yard touchdown with 9 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Saints ground game stuck just before halftime with Zach Line finding the endzone from one-yard out to make it a 21-3 Saints lead in the Superdome.

The Panthers keeping things close in the third quarter with two more field goals to make it a 21-12 game, before the Saints' Wil Lutz shows off his leg from 57-yards out to give New Orleans a 24-12 lead with 6:05 to go in the quarter.

Moving to the fourth, the Panthers offense led by tight end Greg Olsen stormed back to make it 24-19 with 12 minutes to play with a 14-yard touchdown grab from Cam Newton.

If New Orleans can beat the Panthers, it'll be their third victory over Carolina this season and the Saints will advance to play the Minnesota Vikings next weekend.

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