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CHARLOTTE Womens Vonn Bell Jersey , N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton keeps a black and yellow broom he was “gifted” by the Saints hanging in his locker, some omnipresent motivation after what happened a year ago when the Panthers met up with their NFC South rivals.New Orleans swept Carolina, winning both regular-season games in 2017 before eliminating the Panthers from the first round of the playoffs in January with a 31-26 win at the Superdome.The rematch is never far from Newton’s mind.“If you need any type of boost, kind of chip on your shoulder versus (these guys) I have a constant reminder each and every day when I look in my locker,” Newton said, who will renew acquaintances Monday night with the Saints, a team he said “doesn’t like.”Newton said the broom came from the Saints, although he wouldn’t disclose which player.Newton also received a bottle of “Jordan” red wine this past offseason from nemesis Cam Jordan, the Saints dominant defensive end. Jordan had promised to send Newton some “juice” if the Saints swept the Panthers.“Disrespectful,” Newton said flatly.The broom remains in its plastic wrapper and Newton said he would like to stamp it “return to sender” if Carolina (6-7) can somehow manage to beat New Orleans twice in the next three weeks and sneak into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Panthers currently trail the Vikings by a half-game in the battle for the second wild card spot, but are given only a 9 percent chance of making the postseason.Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said: “I know about the wine, not the broom — but whoever sent the broom is a comedic genius.”Meanwhile, the Saints (11-2) have already locked up their second straight division title and are aiming for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Rams are also 11-2, so there’s no room for error.“They got the juice, but at the end of the day we are coming Monday with a cup for our own Authentic Alex Okafor Jersey , too,” Newton said.“Listen, they’re a prideful group,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “They’re well-coached and their backs are against the wall, so we’re going to get their best performance.”STIFLING STREAKThe Saints’ defense has been among the NFL’s best the past five games after looking like arguably the worst through the first three weeks of the season.A 48-40 opening-week loss to the Buccaneers and 43-37 overtime win vs. the Falcons had New Orleans ranked last in points allowed per game through the season’s first few weeks. Now, the Saints are on a five-game run of allowing 17 or fewer points, the latest being a 28-14 victory at Tampa Bay last Sunday.Linebacker Demario Davis said the transformation stems from players staying focused on their goals, learning from mistakes and trusting the coaching staff.“You want to throughout the season perfect your process and, at this point, your process should be pretty much perfected,” Davis said.JORDAN STEPPING UPJordan has been a big part of the Saints turnaround with 12 sacks.“He’s exceeded my expectations,” Davis said of Jordan. “I knew he was one of the top pass rushers in the league, but to see firsthand the impact he has on games it’s phenomenal.”STOPPING McCAFFREYThe Saints will surely be keying on Christian McCaffrey, who has become Carolina’s all-purpose running back in the same mold that Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner once used Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.McCaffrey rarely leaves the field for Carolina, and with 926 yards rushing and 701 yards receiving Womens Max Unger Jersey , he has a legitimate shot to join Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players in league history with 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.He has also scored 12 touchdowns in the past seven games.NO SMALL BREEZEBrees has averaged 302.4 yards passing with 13 TDs and four INTs in past seven games vs. Carolina.Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the key will be to get pressure on Brees up the middle, similar to what the Cowboys were able to do against the Saints a couple of weeks ago, and to not fall for his pump fakes.“We have to stay discipline,” Rivera said.INGRAM’S MARKRunning back Mark Ingram can make his mark on the Saints’ franchise record books with one more touchdown run. He has 49 for his career, tying him with Deuce McAllister.McAllister is still around team headquarters often. He is a color commentator on radio broadcasts of Saints games. Ingram has referred to McAllister as a mentor and Saints second-year running back Alvin Kamara said it’s apparent that McAllister wants Ingram to break his record, which has stood for a decade.“When the team has success, individual accolades will follow,” Kamara said. “So that’s just a testament to him, not focusing on him, but focusing on the team and what helps the team get better and be successful.” Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan remembers all too well the last time New Orleans entered a season with a lot of hype.The Saints seemed like a good bet to make the playoffs for a fifth time in six seasons back in 2014. Instead, they stumbled to a 7-9 record in what became the first of three straight frustrating, sub-.500 campaigns before they won the NFC South last season."Everyone's going to talk about potential. Everyone's going to talk about, 'on paper,' how good we look Authentic DeMario Davis Jersey ," said Jordan, an All-Pro in 2017 with a career-high 13 sacks. "We've been here before. We've seen this a couple years ago, when we looked great on paper. Paper doesn't play Sunday."The schedule seemingly sets the Saints up to win a season opener for the first time since 2013 this Sunday, when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.New Orleans has nearly all key players back from a squad that came within a "Minnesota Miracle" of advancing to the NFC title game. Now the Saints are eager to move on from the 61-yard Vikings touchdown they gave up on their last play of last season.The Bucs, by contrast, are coming off a five-win campaign that extended their decade-long playoff drought and must play without starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who is serving a three-game suspension .Oddsmakers have made the Saints one of the most heavily favored NFL teams — by more than a touchdown — in Week 1."We recognize what kind of a football team New Orleans has," Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said. "We're going to go out there and do everything we can to give it to them on Sunday."And why not? The last time these teams met, in their 2017 regular season finale, the Bucs won in an upset.Here are some key subplots that will play out when the Bucs and Saints renew their divisional rivalry:PREMIER MATCHUP: Bucs receiver Mike Evans is one of three players in NFL history — along with A.J. Green and Hall of Famer Randy Moss — to have 1,000 yards-plus receiving in each of the first four seasons of a career. Evans figures to be covered by Saints cornerback Marshawn Lattimore, last season's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year."I look forward to the matchup," said Evans, who was suspended one game last season for a blindside hit on Lattimore.Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, starting for Winston Authentic Drew Brees Jersey , doesn't sound inclined to look away from Evans just because of who is covering him."When you have a guy like Mike Evans, he's going to get his balls," Fitzpatrick said. "There is nobody that I am really going to shy away from, no disrespect to anybody, just because the talent level Mike has."SUSPENDED STARTERS: Each team is coping with the suspension of a prominent offensive player.The Saints are without Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram, their leading rusher last season with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was suspended four games for use of a banned substance. That raises the possibility that Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara will play more snaps, but Kamara was careful not give away anything on that front."The way our team is trending, we're an unselfish group," Kamara said. "If my touches are low, then it is what it is, if that's what we have to do to win."Winston begins a three-game suspension stemming from an eight-month NFL investigation that concluded he touched a female Uber driver inappropriately in 2016."At this point, it's like any other injury that a guy's out for three weeks," Koetter said.ROSTER TURNOVER: One of Tampa Bay's top priorities was revamping a pass rush that produced a league-low 22 sacks a year ago. In addition to acquiring former New York Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul in a trade , two other new starters on the defensive line — Vinny Curry and Beau Allen — signed as free agents after helping the Eagles win the Super Bowl. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Pierre-Paul had a good training camp and has been everything the Bucs expected in terms of his drive to learn the scheme and make it tough for coaches to sub him out."The guy doesn't want to come off the field http://www.neworleanssaintsteamonline.com/vonn-bell-jersey ," Smith said. "He's a guy that's played, when's he's been healthy, 90-plus percent of the snaps on defense. That is unheard of a lot of times in the NFL."The Saints spent the bulk of their efforts in free agency trying to improve a defense that ranked 17th, bringing in linebacker Demario Davis, safety Kurt Coleman and cornerback Patrick Robinson. Meanwhile, receiver Cameron Meredith is expected to make his debut for an offense that ranked second a season ago, while tight end Ben Watson returns after a couple of seasons with Baltimore.GOOD RATINGS: Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a 121.1 passer rating against the Bucs last season, his best rating against any team in 2017. But Brees quickly dispenses with the notion that he has Tampa Bay's number."We know how competitive this team is regardless of what their record said last year," Brees said. "They've got a lot of really good players on defense. They went out and made some pretty significant moves through free agency and in the draft."It's going to be a tough, tough test."AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall contributed to this report. NFL Outlet 

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