Brian Robison is the only current player remaining on the Vikings roster who endured that tragic loss, but there are a few familiar faces on the other sideline - Brees and head coach Sean Payton.
Drew Brees may be the Saints' quarterback, but this is not his typical Saints team. Carolina had also contained the Saints' dynamic rushing attack, holding running back tandem Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to a combined 14 rushing yards by halftime. The Saints rebounded with a 31-21 win at home over - surprise! - the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers finally got in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, driving 68 yards on eight plays, with Newton doing the major damage with four passes for 54 yards to tight end Greg Olsen.
"From the midpoint of the season, when (Carolina) got on a roll, you can see the confidence grow with that team".
If Carolina quarterback Cam Newton doesn't don his cape and play like a superhero in Sunday's NFC wildcard game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Black and Gold likely will complete the rare trifecta and advance to the divisional round.
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New Orleans should throw all kinds of looks at Newton. The Saints also managed to rush for 149 yards.
At 32 years old, Ginn has caught a league-high 76 percent of his targets - more of the universe's twisted humor, as Ginn is remembered more by Panthers fans (at least those on social media) for the balls he dropped in a blue-and-white jersey than those he caught.
But Newton answered right back, finding running back Christian McCaffrey free over the middle for a 56-yard catch-and-run that drew Carolina within 31-26 with 4:09 left.
Brees got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, misfiring on 3 of his first 5 passes, but he closed the half hitting 11 of 13 and finished 13 of 18 for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
He can't play like he did in a shocking 17-3 loss at Chicago in Week 7, when he got sacked five times, posted a 54.9 QB rating, provided a helping hand in two Bears defensive TDs and looked more and more disinterested with each squandered possession. Gano had made 29-of-30 kicks before that miss, and his only failed attempt had come from 55 yards out. He is the midday host at Sports 1280 New Orleans, Midday Host Weekdays-Noon-2pm at Sports 1280 New Orleans/101.1 FM and Television Host at WLAE-TV. It was the second-longest scoring play of Ginn's career. Carolina is best when they can keep the offense on the field with Newton opening things up with his legs.