Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints vs. Panthers - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints vs. Panthers

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As the saying goes, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. But it was very much how the Saints and Panthers started this season that makes Sunday's finish inconsequential to their post-season aspirations.

The Saints, as we all know, got off to a disastrous 0 and 4 start to 2012. The Panthers' victory over the Saints in Week 2 was their only win in their first seven. The hole each team dug itself with those starts was too deep for either to climb out of.

But each would like to reaffirm the belief that they're playing their best football of the season with a victory on Sunday. The Panthers have won three in a row and four of their last five. They are the last team to beat the streaking Redskins and --- along with the Saints --- one of only two teams to beat the Falcons.

Panther coach Ron Rivera is just 12 and 19 in his two seasons in Charlotte. Carolina will have a new general manager next season who could want to be accompanied by a fresh face on the sidelines.

For the Saints, there are both team and individual goals to be accomplished on Sunday. Foremost among them is an 8 and 8 non-losing record that a third straight win would accomplish. Drew Brees will most likely surpass 5000 yards passing and 40 touchdowns. Thomas Morstead figures to set an NFL record for net punting average in a season.

Morstead is one of just two Saints headed to the 2013 Pro Bowl, along with Jahri Evans. That's two more than the Panthers will send. But those disappointing numbers pale in comparison to the disappointing numbers in each team's win column.

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