Panthers Top Saints, 17-13, Clinch Playoff Berth

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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Cam Newton hit Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left to give the Panthers (11-4) a 17-13 win over the Saints (10-5) on Sunday.

The win also clinched a playoff berth and the only thing that stands between an NFC South title and a first-round bye in the playoffs is a win over the Falcons next Sunday.

“This was a big team win,” Newton said.  “It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done.”

Carolina’s defense sacked Drew Brees six times and picked him off twice in the victory.

“Cam was very resilient,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “He struggled all day and he knows that. But he came through when we needed him.”

New Orleans has dropped five of their last six games away from the Superdome.

“Gave up the big drive at the end,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said.  “It’s disappointing, but it’s not discouraging.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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