The stalemate atop the NFC South only lasted six days, that’s as long as the Carolina Panthers could muster holding on to at least a portion of the divisional lead they earned by winning their eighth game in a row last week and watching the New Orleans Saints drop a game in Seattle to the Seahawks.
The Saints and Panthers were locked with identical 9-3 records for such a short period of time that it’s hard to imagine what the fuss was about.
Billed as the best matchup in the division this season, the Saints scored 31 unanswered points after falling behind 6-0 and punished the Panthers 31-13 in front of a rowdy Superdome crowd. New Orleans held sole control of the NFC South for 12 weeks prior to allowing Carolina a taste of a share of the top spot last week. Now control firmly sits with the Saints, and there’s a good chance it stays that way.
With three weeks to play in the regular season these two teams will meet once more in Week 16 in Charlotte, N.C. But Carolina will need more than a win there to wrangle the division away from New Orleans.