Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 8:25 PM ET | Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Referee: Clete Blakeman
Week 14 kicks off on Thursday night (8:25 PM ET, NBC/NFLN/Amazon) in a showdown between division rivals as the Atlanta Falcons welcome the New Orleans Saints to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons (7-5) look to gain ground on the NFC South-leading Saints (9-3). The teams meet for the 97th time (including the postseason), with Atlanta holding a 51-45 series advantage. In their last meeting in Week 17 of 2016, the Falcons defeated the Saints 38-32 behind Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan’s 331 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The Saints enter Week 14 following a 31-21 win over Carolina last week. New Orleans running backs Mark Ingram (122 scrimmage yards, one touchdown) and rookie Alvin Kamara (126 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns) combined for more than 200 scrimmage yards for the fifth consecutive game and wide receiver Michael Thomas had a touchdown reception in the victory. Kamara, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,220 scrimmage yards, became the third rookie in NFL history with at least 600 rushing yards (606) and 600 receiving yards (614), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Taylor (1964) and Billy Sims (1980). Quarterback Drew Brees has 6,127 career completions and surpassed Peyton Manning (6,125) for the second-most completions in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (6,300) has more career completions.
Atlanta looks to rebound following a 14-9 loss to Minnesota in Week 13. Falcons safety Ricardo Allen led the team with a career-high 10 tackles and defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who ties for the NFC rookie lead with five sacks, recorded a sack in his third consecutive game. Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones ranks third in the NFL with 1,063 receiving yards and is averaging 104.6 yards per game over his past five games. Quarterback Matt Ryan reached 3,000 passing yards (3,057) for the eighth consecutive season. In his past six games against New Orleans, Ryan has 1,970 passing yards (328.3 per game) with 14 touchdowns and one interception for a 115.4 passer rating.
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||ATLANTA FALCONS|
|LAST WEEK||W 31-21 vs. Carolina||L 14-9 vs. Minnesota|
|COACH VS. OPP.||Sean Payton: 15-7||Dan Quinn: 2-2|
|PASSING||Drew Brees: 291-407-3298-17-5-104.2||Matt Ryan: 260-390-3057-16-8-95.4|
|RUSHING||Mark Ingram: 180-922-5.1-9||Devonta Freeman: 128-589-4.6-5|
|RECEIVING||Michael Thomas: 75-875-11.7-3||Julio Jones: 68-1063-15.6-3|
|SACKS||Cameron Jordan: 10||Adrian Clayborn: 8|
|INTs||Kenny Vaccaro: 3||Desmond Trufant: 2|
|TAKE/GIVE||+3 (15/12)||-3 (10/13)|
|PUNTING (NET)||Thomas Morstead: 48.1 (41.9)||Matt Bosher: 45.1 (41.5)|
|KICKING||Wil Lutz: 111 (36/39 PAT; 25/30 FG)||Matt Bryant: 100 (28/28 PAT; 24/28 FG)|
LEADER: Falcons lead all-time series, 50-45
LAST GAME: 1/1/17: Saints 32 at Falcons 38
STREAKS: Falcons have won past 2
LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/1/17
ON THE AIRWAVES
TV: NBC/NFLN/Amazon Prime (8:25 PM ET): Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter)
NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli | SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 81 (NO), 83 (Atl) | XM: 88 (WW1), 81 (NO), 83 (Atl)