"He'll be out for this game," Payton said. "He'll travel. I think just where he's at in the rehab and the strength, I think he felt -- I think we all felt -- like it would be too early him playing this weekend. And I would say next week then, continue the process without trying to put an estimation on his return.
"He felt like he made progress throughout the week, and yet it's still not where it needs to be or where we would feel comfortable with the strength that he needs. But he did get better each day, and we'll just see where it's at next week."
Brees, 36, has never missed a regular-season game due to injury in his 10 years with the Saints, which began after he recovered from major shoulder surgery in 2006.
Sources told ESPN earlier in the day that Brees and Payton would both determine the quarterback's status based on Brees' assessment of how effective he felt he could.
With Brees ruled out, Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology bumped the Panthers from 6.5-point favorites to a 9-point margin against the Saints. Most Nevada books had kept the line off the board with Brees' status uncertain.
ESPN Staff Writer David Purdum contributed to this report.