The Wild Card round finale did NOT disappoint. In what many expected to be the biggest game of the first round, the Panthers and Saints slugged it out in one of the best games of the season, with New Orleans holding on for a big home win. Here's what you need to know.
5. New Orleans Defense is Just Good Enough
The Saints defense stepped up when the game was on the line, and got it done to preserve a win and move on to the next round. The road only gets tougher from here, but after a performance like that, New Orleans should feel confident they can survive.
4. Turnovers Are Key to Winning
The Saints may have lost the turnover battle, but the only interception came on a Drew Brees desperation heave on 4th and 2. If the Saints want to have the best chance possible moving forward, they're going to have to make sure they force some turnovers and keep their's to a minimum.
3. The Panthers Need to Keep as Much Continuity as Possible
This offseason is going to be a turbulent one of the Panthers, as owner Jerry Richardson is set to sell the organization due to disturbing allegations against him for a myriad of issues. With that in mind, this team needs to stick together and ignore the outside world until the dust settles. The more continuity, the better.
2. These Two Teams Were Both Super Bowl Contenders
Quite simply, both these teams had the talent and potential to make deep runs into the postseason. Unfortunately, their paths crossed in the first round. Had they not, this could have been a potential NFC Championship matchup way down the road.
1. Minnesota Does Not Have an Easy Game Next Week
The Vikings may have home-field advantage next week, but they probably would have been better off playing outside if they really wanted an edge in this one. Drew Brees thrives in domes, and with him the Saints offense succeeds as well. It's going to be an intense fight next weekend.