The New Orleans Saints have a great chance to cement their place as the number one seeds of the National Football Conference (NFC) when they take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

NFC West rivals Los Angeles Rams had taken the lead in the race for the number one seed, which will give the team home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but threw away their advantage with back-to-back losses against the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Saints are now back in the lead for the number one seed owing to their superior head-to-head record and can extend their advantage if they improve to a 12-2 record with a win over the Panthers on Monday night.

Sean Payton’s team will be the favorites going into the game against the Panthers, who have a 6-7 record 13 games into the season. Despite their poor record Panthers are in second place on the NFC South table and remain in contention for a playoff place.

And National Football League (NFL) experts from Sports Illustrated have – similar to most other experts – unanimously predicted a win for the Saints, which should all but ensure them number one status in the NFC overall standings with just two games to go after Monday’s game.

Drew Brees
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back during warm-ups before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Dec. 9, 2018. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

“The Panthers are a mess, and remain in the playoff race because their main completion (Vikings, Eagles) are also a mess. They really need a win. It won't come against the far superior Saints. Saints 37, Panthers 24,” Zack Rosen Blatt said.

“The Saints' offense has gone cold of late, but the Panthers' entire team has been in free fall for weeks. This is the game where Drew Brees and Co. remember they're an explosive unit and get back on track. Saints 35, Panthers 20,” Matthew Stypulkoski added.

Meanwhile, Drew Brees – the leader and veteran quarterback of the Saints, has called on the team to improve their offensive performance going into the latter stages of the regular season.

The Saints have struggled with their offensive game in the weeks 13 and 14 managing just 10 points during their surprise loss to the Dallas Cowboys and then just 28 points during their comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This came after five consecutive games where they scored over 30 points.

“We got away from our stuff,” Brees said, as quoted on “We were not playing with our tempo. We weren’t playing with our sense of urgency. I think that was the cause of that and when we realized that we snapped back into the order.”

“We did taper off a little bit and had a couple of struggles,” running back Alvin Kamara added talking about the offensive unit’s struggles in recent games. “We were in a funk and we got it back right. You get off beat and then you find the beat again. I felt like we got a little of our swag back. It felt good to get back on track and we expect to do the same thing this week and build off that.”