Originally posted on Chicks in the Huddle  |  Last updated 12/30/11

On Sunday at midnight, many of us will ring in the New Year singing “Auld Lang Syne.” But on Sunday at noon in the Superdome, I can assure you old acquaintances most certainly won’t be forgotten.

The Saints will face a Carolina team that they’ve not only come to know very well, but loathe very much. And with the Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton performing like something out of a Tecmo Bowl game, they could very well have their hands full. But you know what, I still think they’re gonna kick some ass.

Know why? Because the Saints are on a mission. They’ve been subjected to trash talk and scrutiny all week long over the decision to let their star player make history, as opposed to, I don’t know, letting Matt Ryan suckle on the teet of Gregg Williams to ease the pain of getting spanked in prime time. My friends at Moosedenied did a fabulous job of summing up how most of us Saints fans feel about the scrutiny, while laying out what I would consider a fairly appropriate response.

Sean Payton and company could care less about all this. Their mission goes far beyond what happened on Monday night. Their mission is about glory. It’s about legacy. It’s about dynasties. They could give two ***** that a few sports reporters needed a fainting couch after watching one team unapologetically dominate another one.

On Sunday, we will ride the momentum of our Superdome swagger to close out the season with a strong performance against another division rival. We aren’t benching our starters; we’re revving them up and cutting them loose. We’re telling them, “Chase your record. Make your mark. Own your title as a certified NFL bad ass.” And thank heavens for it!

The Panthers are playing solid football but at this point in the season, the Saints can’t and shouldn’t be afraid of anyone and they shouldn’t play scared either. If we plan on marching into Green Bay (assuming Green Bay survives its first play off game) demanding that team turn over the most coveted title in sports, it starts with breaking the backs and spirits of just about every other team along the way.

In 2009, the Saints were 13-3 before making their run in the playoffs. I fully expect them to end this season with the same record. If they have to go on the road a couple times to make it to the big dance, so be it. Overcoming that feat will only further solidify what we already knew: they’re not to be f*cked with!

Nola Chick’s Prediction

Saints: 34
Panthers: 20

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