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Monday Night Football open thread: Saints at Panthers

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Wild Card Round - Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saint Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Sunday morning, you may have been looking forward to this game. It was a key game in the NFC playoff race—and remains as much—but with the Detroit Lions officially eliminated from playoff contention, a lot of the fun has been taken out of this game.

Still, if you’ve long come to terms with the Lions’ fate this season, this game could be freeing to you. There’s no reason to spend energy figuring out how this affects the Lions, and you can enjoy this game for what it is: an important game two franchises that aren’t the Detroit Lions.

The New Orleans Saints have an opportunity to take a convincing lead for the one-seed in the NFC. Already having the tiebreaker over the Rams, New Orleans could also move their lead to two games after Los Angeles lost on Sunday night.

The Panthers desperately need this win to stay alive in the playoff race. They won’t be mathematically eliminated if defeated by the Saints, but they’ll have a hell of a time trying to recover.

So the Panthers definitely come into Monday night as the more desperate team, but will that be enough to push them to victory? Let’s watch.

Location: Bank of America Stadium—Charlotte, NC
Game time: Monday, December 17, 2018 | 8:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Online Stream/Replay: Watch ESPN, NFL Gamepass

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.