Below are five positives, and also five negatives, to take from the New Orleans Saints’ 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The win improved the Saints to 9-3 on the season, and put them in sole-possession of first place in the South.


1)---Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara: They are the best backfield tandem in the NFL. They did it again on Sunday, combining for 145 rushing yards on only 23 carries, for a combined average of 6.4 yards-per-carry, including three touchdowns. Understand; this was against a Carolina defense ranked third against the run entering the game. The Dynamic Duo also combined for 11 receptions for 103 yards. Kamara got the Saints off to a good start with a fantastic opening drive, while Ingram scored on a 72-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, in the second quarter. These guys have been nothing short of sensational all year.

2)---Drew Brees: He didn't play well last week against the Rams, but bounced back against the Panthers, completing 25-of-34 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown, which was a great pass to Michael Thomas. That pass gave Brees 6,126 completions in the NFL, pushing him past Peyton Manning into second place on the all-time list. He threw the ball well, made some clutch throws, and didn't throw an interception.

3)---Taysom Hill: The Saints' third-string quarterback was active for the first time this season and played special teams, nearly blocking a punt. Hill is obviously a great athlete. Keep in mind; this is a quarterback...a quarterback!...covering kicks in the NFL!. That happens, like almost never.

4)---Cameron Jordan: He gave Matt Kalil headaches in the second half, and led the Saints in tackles, with 6. He was really good, yet again. Jordan got hosed last year, being left off the Pro Bowl roster. The way he's playing this year, with 10 sacks, there's no way he won't make it for a third time. 

5)---First Place!: The win gives the Saints sole possession of first place in the NFC South. New Orleans is one game ahead of Carolina, and really two, since the Saints hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers, sweeping them during the regular season, and two games ahead of the Falcons. Having to travel to Atlanta on Thursday night, on short rest, will be tough, so the Saints needed this one. Big win!.


1)---Andrus Peat: He started for the injured Terron Armstead at left tackle, and struggled. Peat is better at guard, and better on the right side, but injuries force you to change this up.

2)---Terron Armstead: He missed Sunday's game, and that's nothing new. Armstead is oft-inured. After missing three games in 2015, Armstead was limited to only 7 last season, and has missed 5 games this year, while seldom being 100%. He is athletic and talented as offensive linemen come, but he has to be on the field more. The best ability is availability. 

3)---Special Teams: Yes, Chris Banjo and Craig Robertson combined for a forced fumble and recovery in the fourth quarter, but two blocks in the back took away a big Tommylee Lewis punt return, and Wil Lutz missed a 38-yard field goal. Special teams wasn't horrible, which I guess is saying something, but it was far from good.

4)---Josh Hill: He put the Panthers back in the game, losing a key fumble in the second quarter. At the time, the Saints were leading, 21-7, and driving for another touchdown. After the fumble, the Panthers scored, to make it 21-14. The Saints, with Coby Fleener on IR, have few options at tight end right now, but that was a bad fumble. Hill simply has to hold on to the ball. 

5)---Third Down Conversions: The Saints finished only 6-of-15 on third down attempts. They were the best in the league in third won conversions last season, but rank 22nd this year. They weren't good in this department once again on Sunday.