Bridgewater will likely see action on offense Sunday against the Panthers, as coach Sean Payton is expected to rest a number of key regulars with the Saints having clinched the NFC's top seed, Mike Triplett of reports.

Payton hasn't officially revealed his intentions for the regular-season finale, but his prior history in Week 17s when the Saints' playoff seeding has been secure suggests top signal-caller Drew Brees won't be pressed into extensive duty. Triplett notes that when the Saints were locked in as the No. 1 seed in 2009 and the No. 2 seed in 2006 heading into those respective season finales, Payton rested starters on both occasions. Further influencing Payton's case to follow that plan again is the fact that after four down performances in a row, Brees got back on track in the Week 16 win over the Steelers with his sixth 300-yard performance of the season. In addition to keeping the 39-year-old healthy for the divisional round, resting Brees would have the added benefit of giving the Saints a longer look at Bridgewater, who might be viewed as a successor to the aging veteran. Bridgewater will hit in free agency in March and could increase his earning potential with the Saints or another team if he turns in a quality showing versus Carolina.

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