In the driver’s seat

Metairie, La. -- With their win over the Buccaneers in week 14, the Saints locked-up the NFC South Division title for the second-straight season. But the work is far from over. Their next goal is to clinch the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.

"We recognize it and that's why there's a great sense of urgency," said Saints Quarterback Drew Brees. "It's great to be in a position where you control your own destiny. We don't need to be scoreboard watching, right? We focus on our stuff and all of it takes care of itself."

"It's on us," said Saints Defensive Tackle Sheldon Rankins. "It lies in our hands. We've got to go out and take care of this one on Monday night and then we'll worry about the last two."

Despite a 6 and 7 record, the Panthers boast the second best rushing attack in the league. But the Saints counter that with the top rush defense in the league. And as the season has gone on, their defensive unit has only gotten better.

"For the most part this year, we've done a good job of taking steps each and every week to becoming the defense we want to be," Rankins said. "I think we're hitting our stride at the right time. We've just got to continue to go out and do the things we've done to be successful and not rest on what we've done in the past but continue to go out and play each and every week the way we know we can play."

The Saints are 11 and 11 all-time at Bank of America Stadium and have a 4 and 2 record under Sean Payton in Monday night road games.