CHARLOTTE -- When the New Orleans Saints have been successful, they've been slow to give.
When the Carolina Panthers are on target, they're quick to take.
Whichever team holds form could have the edge Sunday in a game between floundering 4-6 teams.
"We know that we have to quit making mistakes, beating ourselves and quit turning over the ball so we can have a chance of making it to the playoffs," Saints defensive end Will Smith said.
The Saints committed 12 turnovers during their four-game losing streak to start the season (including twice in the loss to Carolina on Oct. 7). After being cautious with the ball (four turnovers) in winning four games to even their record, they coughed it up five more times to lose their last two games.
"The one thing that we can point to when we play poorly is that we've done a poor job taking care of the football," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We gave up some big plays last week and that is a perfect example. On the road we turned the ball over on the 1-yard line, we turned the ball over again inside the 20-yard line and again just across midfield. We don't have that great of a margin for error, especially after starting off the season with a 0-4 start.
"In the last two weeks we've seen the same thing happen. We've got to, and it starts with me, do a better job of emphasizing ball security and how that relates to wins and losses. The up and down type of season is really reflective of how good your team is right now."
The Panthers have taken the converse approach, creating 11 turnovers in four wins, and eight in six losses. Included was the day they wasted a four-turnover effort in Tennessee, and they've had one or fewer in the other five losses this year.
They had none last week in Green Bay, while giving it to the Packers three times.
For the season, the Panthers are +1 in turnover margin, but the underlying point illustrates the way their offense has undermined the season.
They've scored just one touchdown off opponent's turnovers, even though they're tied for 12th in the league with 19 takeaways.
• TURNABOUT: After catching all the breaks, and creating many more, last season, the Saints were mystified by this year's slow start.
"We survived it," Smith said of going 0-4. "We were always in all of those games. It wasn't like everybody dominated us. When you look at the film, we could have easily been 4-0, that's how we felt. We had just been kind of on the bad side of things. We got back to .500 and struggled the last two weeks. We struggled defensively two weeks ago and last week we struggled on offense.
"We've got to put it together and have a complete game and be the team we know we are capable of. We have to go out and play our game, not make mistakes, and not have turnovers. We feel if we do that we will win those games."
• INJURY UPDATE: Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble was held out of practice for the third straight day Friday, and was listed as doubtful for Sunday. Coach John Fox said there's still a chance Gamble could play, though he'd have a significant cast on his hand.
They might need him, since they have just four corners on the active roster. Last week when Gamble left with the original injury, they had midseason pick-up Patrick Dendy as the third, with undrafted rookie safety Quinton Teal playing corner in the dime package.
Also, linebacker Thomas Davis (foot) was added to the report as questionable, after being held out of practice Friday.
Otherwise, the Panthers are mostly well, with running back DeShaun Foster (toe) and defensive tackle Damione Lewis (shoulder) listed as probable.