Carolina's Christian McCaffrey and New Orleans' Alvin Kamara - the league's top two all-purpose running backs - will be the featured attractions when the Saints host the Panthers on Sunday. First-place New Orleans holds a three-game lead over Carolina in the NFC South, and will try to ration Kamara's playing time down the stretch with running back Latavius Murray getting his fair share of touches.
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"It's not like I'm selfish,'' Kamara, who missed two games last month with knee and ankle injuries, told reporters. "I don't need the ball every play. (Murray's) fully capable, too. So I think we'll get a good balance going, and it will be hard to stop.'' McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,059 rushing yards and has another 517 from 59 receptions as he is on pace to set the NFL record for yards from scrimmage in a season. The Panthers have dropped three of four after McCaffrey totaled 191 yards in a 29-3 loss to Atlanta last week. "The season is not over," McCaffrey told reporters afterward. "We're not going to act like it's over. We're not going to pout ... We move on to Monday, fix our mistakes and move on."
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: New Orleans -9.5 O/U: 47
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (5-5): Kyle Allen led Carolina to four straight victories with seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his first four starts of the season but has three TDs and nine picks - four versus Atlanta - in his last four games. Luke Kuechly needs eight tackles to record 100 for the eighth consecutive season. DJ Moore made eight catches last week for his seventh game with at least six this season but has only one TD reception.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (8-2): Kamara returned from his two-game absence with 122 yards from scrimmage in a 34-17 victory at Tampa Bay last week and has rushed for a touchdown in his last three games against the Panthers. Drew Brees has completed 76.4 percent of his passes with six TDs and an interception in three contests since missing five-plus games with a thumb injury. Michael Thomas has a league-leading 94 catches - the most after 10 games in NFL history - and became the first player with 90 or more catches in his first four seasons after recording eight last week.
1. McCaffrey is on pace for 2,521 yards from scrimmage, which would break the record of 2,509 set by Tennessee's Chris Johnson in 2009.
2. Brees has thrown 22 touchdown passes and five interceptions in his last seven home games versus Carolina.
3. The Panthers snapped a four-game slide to the Saints with a 33-14 victory in New Orleans on Dec. 30 as Allen threw two touchdown passes in his first career start.