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New Orleans Saints beat Carolina Panthers 18-10, stay in mix for playoffs | NFL Week 17

Saints even their record at 8-8 with one game to play

The New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome in Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season.

The New Orleans Saints offense and defense got off to a sluggish start Sunday, Jan. 2 vs. the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome but both units turned it on in the second half to secure an 18-10 win, keeping the team's playoff hopes alive going into the season finale at Atlanta.

The Saints are 8-8 and with one game still to play Sunday with playoff implications, looking up at the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) and San Francisco 49ers (9-7) for the sixth and seventh spots in the NFC playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) play at the Green Bay Packers (12-3) on "Sunday Night Football." New Orleans will end the season at Atlanta (7-9), which lost to Buffalo on Sunday. The game is set for noon Sunday, Jan. 9 but the NFL could change the day and time of the game.

The Saints fell behind 10-3 to Carolina (5-11) but the defense stiffened and kicker Brett Maher made three more field goals for New Orleans to lead 12-10 after three quarters. The Saints scored their first touchdown since Week 14 when quarterback Taysom Hill hit running back Alvin Kamara with a 12-yard scoring pass. Maher's extra-point attempt bounced off the upright.

Hill, who was one of 22 Saints players to miss Monday's loss to the Dolphins, started at quarterback and was 17 of 28 for 222 yards wth the touchdown pass. He also carried the ball 12 times for 45 yards. Kamara had five catches for 68 yards and had a team-best 30-yard run to set up the touchdown. Marquez Callaway had one of his best games with six catches for 98 yards.

After spotting Carolina 10 early points, the Saints defense shut down the Panthers and quarterback Sam Darnold. Defensive end Cameron Jordan led the way with 3.5 sacks, his third consecutive strong outing, while defensive backs Jeff Heath, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and P.J. Williams each had a sack and linebacker Kwon Alexander shared one with Jordan. Gardner-Johnson picked off Darnold with 46 seconds to play to seal the win.

Jordan now has 11.5 sacks for the season, his sixth season with 10 or more. His best season was 2019 when he had 15.5.

Carolina finished with just 178 yards of offense and was six of 14 on third down. Darnold, who was sacked seven times, was 17 of 26 for 132 yards.