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Miami Dolphins Jerseys
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Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints face the prospect of seeing their season end where it began.
That is Montae Nicholson Jersey , unless they’ve improved enough to turn the tables on the Minnesota Vikings, who beat New Orleans convincingly in Week 1.
”That feels like ages and ages ago,” Brees said of the 29-19 loss in Minnesota, describing the difference between the Saints then and now as ”night and day.”
The Saints (12-5) rebounded from double-digit losses to the Vikings and New England Patriots in their first two games to win the NFC South. Now they’re on to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs after holding off Carolina (11-6), 31-26 on Sunday.
New Orleans’ next game comes one day before Brees turns 39 years old, and will come one week after the veteran quarterback reminded everyone he’s still capable of big passing days if opposing defenses sell out to stop the Pro Bowl running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
Brees completed 23 passes to eight different receivers for 375 yards and two touchdowns. Only two of his completions went to Ingram or Kamara, who accounted for only 68 yards from scrimmage combined.
”We trust our system. We trust each other and what we proved is we can beat you in a lot of different ways,” Brees said. ”There’s no better feeling than knowing you just won, not only won but won a playoff game as a team and now you’re on to the next one.”
His touchdown passes of 80 yards to Ted Ginn and 9-yards to tight end Josh Hill helped New Orleans open up a 21-6 lead late in the first half. Michael Thomas caught eight passes for 131 yards, including a 46-yarder that set up Kamara’s short TD run in the fourth quarter.
For the Panthers, it was an excruciating end to the season. Beaten soundly by the Saints twice before this season, they pushed New Orleans to the brink in the third matchup.
Aided by the return of star tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers drove inside the Saints 22-yard line five times, only to come away with nothing twice and field goals three other times.
”That was the difference in the game,” said Olsen, who had eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. ”We moved the ball pretty much at will the whole game. We just struggled in the first half in the red zone and it turned out to be points that we kept chasing.”
Still Zemgus Girgensons Jersey , the Panthers had a first down on the Saints 21 with 41 seconds left. It wasn’t until Newton’s intentional grounding in the face of end Cameron Jordan’s pass rush, followed by Vonn Bell’s sack on a safety blitz on fourth down, that the Saints sealed the victory.
Some other things to know from the Saints’ win:
GETTING PRESSURE: The Saints sacked Newton four times. Jordan, Bell, linebacker Jonathan Freeny and defensive tackle David Onyemata each had one. Jordan, a newly named All-Pro, also tipped two passes and might have made his biggest play when he ran through two blockers to force Newton’s intentional grounding. Their pass rush could be a factor against Minnesota QB Case Keenum, who’s been sacked 17 times in Minnesota’s last six games.
Certainly, Jordan expects a different game that Week 1, when the Saints had one sack – by Jordan – against then-starter Sam Bradford.
”We had a young defense that was still learning,” Jordan said. ”We’ve clearly turned the corner. We’ve clearly turned to the next chapter. Now we’re into the playoffs and we’ve got bigger and better goals.”
SECONDARY CONCERNS: While the Saints’ defense has been far better this season than last, the secondary has looked more vulnerable lately. Against Carolina, they allowed Newton to pass for 349 yards, his second most all season. New Orleans struggled to cover Olsen and versatile running back Christian McCaffrey, who six catches for 101 yards, including a 56-yard score.
END ZONE PROTECTION: While the Saints defense gave up 413 net yards JK Scott Jersey , their ability to keep Carolina out of the end zone was crucial.
”It’s better to hold them to three than six,” Bell said. ”We held them in the red zone and we won the game.”
ROAD WOES: While the Saints won their sixth straight home playoff game and improved to 5-0 in the Superdome in postseason games under coach Sean Payton, they’ve won only one road playoff game in their history. That was during the 2013 season, when they won a wild-card round game at Philadelphia before losing the next week at Seattle.
The Saints’ all time road playoff record is 1-6.

Case Keenum is joining his fifth team in five years and the Denver Broncos are turning to their fifth quarterback since Peyton Manning retired 24 months ago.
General manager John Elway called Keenum "a great fit for us" after the sixth-year pro parlayed a breakout year in Minnesota into a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver.
"Along with that experience," Elway said, "his leadership and competitiveness are what you look for in a quarterback."
Elway, by the way, isn't done looking at quarterbacks.
Elway and coach Vance Joseph were in Norman, Oklahoma, checking out Baker Mayfield's pro day when free agency opened Wednesday. Then they were headed for Los Angeles to watch Josh Rosen's pro day at UCLA on Thursday.
Also, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press the Broncos were in negotiations Wednesday to trade QB Trevor Siemian to Minnesota, where the Vikings are pursuing free agent Kirk Cousins to be their starter.
The Broncos were busy when free agency opened, keeping linebacker Todd Davis (three years, $15 million); adding cornerback Tramaine Brock (one year, $4 million); finalizing Aqib Talib's trade to the Los Angeles Rams; and trying to move Siemian http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com...ams-jersey , who won the starting QB job in Denver each of the last two years.
Keenum is expected to sign his deal Thursday, giving the 30-year-old journeyman the big payday that's long eluded him and taking the pressure off Elway to use the fifth overall pick in the draft next month on a quarterback.
It's no guarantee, however, that Elway won't still use that pick on a QB.
Besides Mayfield and Rosen, other high-profile fixes for franchises with quarterback quandaries such as Denver's include Wyoming's Josh Allen, USC's Sam Darnold, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph.
Coming off a career-changing season, Keenum was widely considered the second-most attractive veteran QB on the market behind Cousins. And he is a player the Broncos know well because Gary Kubiak, now the Broncos' senior personnel adviser, had him for two seasons while Kubiak was head coach of the Houston Texans.
"Case is perfect for our team, both as a player and as a person," said Joseph, who also worked for the Texans. "He's playing the best football of his career right now and has gotten better with every opportunity he's had. Being around him in Houston, Case is a tremendous person and teammate with strong leadership skills and a terrific work ethic. He'll be great in our locker room."
Keenum, who made $2 million last year, went 11-3 in place of an injured Sam Bradford Brian Gibbons Jersey , leading the Vikings to the NFC championship game.
He threw for more than 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His signature moment was that last-second 61-yard touchdown toss to Stefon Diggs that stunned the Saints 29-24 in the playoffs.
The Broncos haven't been back to the playoffs since Manning retired following Denver's 24-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 two years ago.
They've cycled through Mark Sanchez, Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, while going a combined 14-18.
The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 season, were considered an early front-runner to land Cousins. Minnesota, however, had a sparkling stadium, new state-of-the-art training facility, stacked roster and coaching stability to offer him, while the Broncos' main magnet was Von Miller.
Even though he issued a public plea for Cousins to join him in Denver, Miller is welcoming Keenum to town .
"Looks/Feels right to me!" Miller said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. "We got what we were looking for! Franchise QB that's the perfect fit for DENVER! @johnelway with the deep 3 pointer! Like always! Leeettttss Goooo!!! @casekeenum7 @casekeenum7 Time for me to hold up my end of the deal now!"
Notes: The Broncos placed second-round tenders on two restricted free agents: C Matt Paradis and OLB Shaq Barrett. They declined to offer a tender to WR Bennie Fowler III.
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