CHARLOTTE -The Carolina Panthers will hit the road to open the playoffs, paying a visit to the New Orleans Saints for an NFC Wild Card matchup.
Game time is set for Sunday at 4:40 p.m.
The showdown will mark the first time that two NFC South teams will square off in the postseason since realignment in 2002. Every other NFC division has had at least two playoff matchups in the current alignment.
The fourth-seeded Saints (11-5) handed the fifth-seeded Panthers (11-5) two of their losses this season, winning in Charlotte 34-13 in Week 3 and in New Orleans 31-21 in Week 13.
The Panthers are 3-0 in the wild card round all-time, including a 23-0 victory at the Giants in 2005 – the lone road wild card game in franchise history.
The third-seeded Rams (11-5) will host the sixth-seeded Falcons (10-6) in the other NFC Wild Card on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. The NFC South is the first division to send three teams to the NFC playoffs since the NFC East claimed three spots in 2007.
The two top seeds – the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings – earned first-round byes with 13-3 regular seasons.
The Patriots and Steelers are the top two seeds in the AFC. On Wild Card Weekend, the Chiefs will host the Titans on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. and the Jaguars will host the Bills on Sunday at 1 p.m.