The Saints may be second in the NFC race, but they could be the first NFL team to clinch a playoff berth Thanksgiving night when they face the Falcons. New Orleans will look to wrap up the NFC South and avenge one of their two losses.
How to Watch:
When: Thursday, Nov. 28
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
The Saints (9–2) moved four games clear of the Panthers in the division after escaping with a 34–31 home win on Sunday. After Carolina kicker Joey Slye missed a potential go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 1:56 to play, Drew Brees engineered an 11-play, 65-yard drive capped by Wil Lutz's 33-yard field goal as time expired.
A win in this game would give the Saints four victories against NFC South opponents, which the Panthers cannot match since they are 1–3 in division play. The Saints remained one game behind the 49ers in the race for the top seed in the NFC, but the teams will face off in a titanic showdown in New Orleans in Week 14.
Brees and wide receiver Michael Thomas turned in their standard quality outings as Brees threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns, clearing 76,000 yards in the process. He also crept within one TD toss of Tom Brady for second with 531 as the two race to be the first to pass Peyton Manning’s all-time mark of 539.
Thomas, who had a key 24-yard reception on a 3rd-and-6 during the game-winning drive, finished with 10 catches for 101 yards for his fifth straight 100-yard game. Thomas also cleared 100 catches for the third straight season and 5,000 yards for his career, becoming the fourth player in club history to accomplish the latter.
With 104 receptions, the fourth-year wideout also bettered Marvin Harrison's NFL record for the most catches through the first 11 games in a season. Thomas also joined a select group with three straight 100-catch, 1,200-yard seasons that include Harrison, Jerry Rice, Herman Moore and Antonio Brown.
While Thomas had a season-best 13 catches and 152 yards against Atlanta in Week 10, New Orleans' inability to convert in the red zone contributed to a 26–9 home loss just a few weeks ago. Brees threw for 287 yards, but failed to record a touchdown pass and was sacked a season-high six times.
Atlanta's bid to complete a three-game sweep of NFC South foes ended with a 35–22 loss at home to Tampa Bay on Sunday, once more turning up the heat on coach Dan Quinn. The Falcons (3–8) are on the verge of their first back-to-back losing seasons since 2013-14, as Matt Ryan failed to throw a touchdown pass and was responsible for two turnovers, including a strip sack that directly resulted in a Buccaneers touchdown.
In the win over the Saints earlier this month, Atlanta's ground game carried the day as it totaled a season-high 143 yards–one of just two games the Falcons have topped 100 on the season. Ryan did throw for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as Atlanta went a combined 7 for 16 on third and fourth downs while holding the ball for nearly 34 minutes.
Atlanta has not swept the season series since 2016, and Brees is 18–9 lifetime against the Falcons since 2006. He has thrown for 8,284 yards and 52 touchdowns in those games and is 8–5 in Atlanta.