New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars advance to NFL's divisional playoffs

Drew Brees threw the Saints to victory.
Drew Brees threw the Saints to victory. Photo credit: Getty

The New Orleans Saints just did enough to advance to the NFC divisional playoffs after holding off a fast finishing Carolina Panthers 31-26.

Quarterback Drew Brees starred for the Saints, throwing for 376 passing yards including tow touchdowns.

The 38-year-old carved up a Panthers decimated by injury at will throughout all four quarters to set up a clash with the Minnesota Vikings next week.

Brees had to step up due to the ineffectiveness of what has been a strength for a majority of the season, the one-two punch running game of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

The dynamic duo were restricted to just 37 yards between them as the Panthers defence honed in on the run.

Carolina made a late comeback, reducing what at one pint was 15-points to just five with four minutes on the clock to set up a grandstand finish.

Cam Newton had a late chance to secure the win for the Panthers but couldn't find the endzone.
Cam Newton had a late chance to secure the win for the Panthers but couldn't find the endzone. Photo credit: Getty

Brees threw an intercept with less than two minutes to go to give Panthers quarterback Cam Newton a shot at a winning drive, but the Saints defence held firm inside their 20 yard line to deny Carolina an upset win.

Earlier, the Jacksonville Jaguars scraped past the Buffalo Bills 10-3 in their AFC wild-card game on Sunday (Monday NZ time).

The Jags,playing in their first playoff match since 2008 did just enough to top the Bills in a scrappy game at EverBank Field.

The Jaguars defence played a huge part in the seven-point win.
The Jaguars defence played a huge part in the seven-point win. Photo credit: Getty
The Jacksonville faithful believes.
The Jacksonville faithful believes. Photo credit: Getty

Quarterback Blake Bortles rushed for 88 yards while throwing for 87 yards, including a touchdown which proved the difference.

With the game tied up a 3-3 in the third quarter, and only one yard out on fourth dwon, Bortles found tightened Ben Koyack in the end zone.

"We weren't sharp, we made some bad plays and did some stupid stuff, but we found a way to win and that's all that matters," Bortles said.

"You know, when we got beat last week at Tennessee, I didn't run at all, so I thought we got beat without kind of shooting all of our shots, so I said it made it difficult, so let's find some ways to move the ball and do some different stuff," Bortles said.

The Jaguars advance to play No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next week for a spot in the AFC championship match.

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