Week 14 Saints-Panthers now prime time

With the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers among the NFL’s hottest teams, it’s no surprise that NBC announced they will flex their Week 14 matchup in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into the prime-time “Sunday Night Football” slot. They’ll now play at 8:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 8.

The Panthers (8-3) have won seven straight games to stay within one game of the Saints (9-2) in a tight NFC South race that will be decided in December. The two teams will meet again at Carolina in Week 16.

The Week 14 game will be the third consecutive prime-time game for the Saints, who just beat the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night on the NFL Network and play a week from Monday at the Seattle Seahawks (10-1) on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” It will also be their fourth prime-time game in five weeks.

Recent history suggests the move to prime time will be good news for the Saints. They have won a remarkable 12 consecutive night games at home, including two this year.

That Panthers matchup won’t be easy, however. Not only have the Panthers been playing great on both sides of the ball, but the Saints will be playing on a short week after the Monday night game across the country at Seattle.

These next two weeks will test the Saints more than they’ve been tested yet all season -- and they will go a long way in determining their playoff fate.