Saints become first team with 12 wins after edging Panthers

The Saints may not have to play outside again this season.

And after the shift they put in against the Panthers, they’ll be glad to get inside.

The Saints hung on to a wild 12-9 win over the Panthers and moved to 12-2, giving themselves some margin in the quest for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

They finish up with the Steelers and Saints at home, and would play at home throughout the NFC playoffs as long as nothing weird happens. That’s important, since they’re 5-0 in the playoffs at home, and 1-5 in places other than the Superdome.

And even though the Panthers are now 6-8 and all but eliminated after losing their sixth straight game, they turned in one of their best performances of the season.

Cornerback Donte Jackson also had a pick-two on his interception return of a conversion attempt, a decent summation of a night that was weird from start to finish. The Panthers held Drew Brees to 203 yards and an interception, and when the Saints had a chance to seal the win, the Panthers forced a fumble which went through the end zone for a touchback.

Carolina couldn’t do anything with the ball on their final chance, with Cam Newton unable to capitalize on the momentum his defense offered. Of course, his shoulder is injured, and he can’t physically do much more. He threw for 131 yards and was picked off once, and their only touchdown came on a pass from Christian McCaffrey.