The New Orleans Saints will be looking to become the first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot this season when they face the Falcons in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day.
The Saints improved to 9-2 with a 34-31 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and a win in Atlanta would seal a third consecutive NFC South title, as well as avenging the shock loss they suffered to the Falcons in Week 10.
While a playoff spot is little more than a formality for New Orleans—the 5-6 Panthers are its closest rivals in the division—extending the winning to three games would go some way towards consolidating their chances of earning a first-round bye.
FiveThirtyEight’s statistical projections give New Orleans a 64 percent chance of a first-week bye, the biggest of any team in the NFC and the third-highest in the NFL as a whole.
While the Saints effectively clinched a divisional title with the win against Carolina, they were not at their best on Sunday. New Orleans led 14-0 in the first half, before allowing the Panthers back within two points at 17-15 and then relinquished a 13-point lead as Carolina levelled the game at 31.
The Saints were their own worst enemy at times, conceding 12 penalties for 123 yards. Among those was a pass interference call that was reviewed but not overturned, leaving Saints coach Sean Payton incensed.
New Orleans lost the NFC Championship Game to the Los Angeles Rams in controversial fashion last season, due to a missed pass interference call. In the offseason, the league changed the law to allow pass interference calls to be reviewed but, according to ESPN Stats & Info, only eight of the 55 calls challenged this season have been reversed.
“Quite honestly, it wasn’t New York’s best game,” Payton said in his press conference on Sunday, referencing the site of the NFL’s officiating headquarters, which oversees replays of contentious calls.
“I’m not gonna get into it on the replay relative to the fouls, the [replay rule] change that took place in the offseason. But sitting in on every one of those meetings, I don’t know that it’s exactly what we discussed, where we are today with it. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not. But we’ve gotta be able to adjust to it.”
The Falcons, meanwhile, arrive into Thanksgiving on a losing note after their two-game running streak came to an end against Tampa Bay. Having conceded just 12 points combined in its two games after the bye in Week 9, Atlanta allowed 35 against the Buccaneers, who racked up 446 total yards.
Bottom of the NFC South, the Falcons have little to play for this season, but will be desperate to spoil their divisional rivals’ perfect record on Thanksgiving Day—the Saints have won both games they have played on the holiday—and avenge the 31-17 loss they suffered in New Orleans on Thanksgiving a year ago.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Thursday.
When and where is the game?
The Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, November 28.
Kick-off is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET.
The game will be nationally broadcast by NBC.
A live stream will be available via NBC’s digital platforms, the NBC Sports website and fuboTV.
New Orleans made it two wins in a row and moved within touching distance of the NFC South title with a 34-31 win over the Carolina Panthers, while the Falcons’ two-game winning run came to and end with a 35-22 loss against Tampa Bay.
The Saints have the edge in the all-time series, with 52 wins to the Falcons’ 48 and have won three of the last four meetings between the two, including their matchup on Thanksgiving Day last year.
The Falcons, however, pulled off a shock win in Week 10, defeating the Saints 26-9 in New Orleans.
According to Oddschecker, the Saints are 6.5-point favorite and are 17/20 to cover the spread, while the Falcons are 12/5 underdogs.
The over/under line in terms of total points scored is set at 38.5.
The post NFL Thanksgiving Schedule 2019: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, TV Channel, Live Stream, Odds appeared first on Newsweek.