I'm in New Orleans on a Sunday morning, having just gotten back from a jog down Bourbon Street. As Jimmy Buffett once wrote, there's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning, and in New Orleans that line is almost blurred away entirely. You wouldn't believe how many bars are open at 8 a.m. here.
In any case, if you're wanting to get primed for today's HUGE Panthers-Saints game, here are 4 articles I'd recommend reading:
1) New Orleans injury issues. You think the Saints feel sorry for the Panthers, who had the exact same defensive starting 11 for 14 weeks in a row? No chance. Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey won't play today, and judging from this story in the New Orleans paper, I don't think RB Pierre Thomas will either. That will leave over-the-hill Deuce McAllister and Mike Bell as the primary ball carriers. Drew Brees is really going to have to air it out.
2) Here's a nice story from The Observer's Ron Green Jr. about Panthers team owner Jerry Richardson, who is awaiting a heart transplant. If you're not familiar with the way Richardson treats people, this is really required reading.
3) Here's my column from Sunday's Observer -- my take on today is that if the Panthers don't win this one and secure a first-round bye, there's no way this team is going to the Super Bowl.
4) Here's the main Saints story from today's New Orleans Times-Picayune, as the Saints lament their 8-7 season and talk about how much they want to spoil Carolina's chance to win the NFC South.