New Orleans (4-5) at Carolina (3-6), 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Twitter. They’re both coming off losses at home last Sunday and both are trying to catch Atlanta in the NFC South. Carolina and Cam Newton host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in an NFC South rematch, with the setting this time in the Tar Heel State.

The Thursday night week 11 opener at Bank of America Stadium features a pair of teams that want to be in the playoff hunt with a chance to gain a half game on Atlanta, who has a bye this week. The game features NBC’s debut in the “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast, cable (NFL Network) and digital (Twitter).

Last week, New Orleans rallied to tie the defending Super Bowl champs at 23 all with 1:22 left when Brees and wR Brandin Cook connected on a 32 yard pass play. The Saints attempting the extra point, which would have made it a 1-point game at that point before Justin Simmons blocked the try and the ball was scooped up by Wil Sparks, who ran the ball back for a defensive two point conversion to give Denver the 25-23 win. Denver outrushed New Orleans 103-80, while Brees threw for 303 yards and three TDs but was picked off twice. Trevor Simeian of Denver threw for 258 yards and a pair of TDs in the win in the Big Easy but was sacked six times and picked off twice.

Carolina also lost at home and lost in the final minutes of play, coming up on the short end of a 20-17 loss to Kansas City at Bank of America Stadium last Sunday. The defending NFC champions led 17-3 at the half before the Chiefs roared back in the fourth quarter to come away 20-17 winners. Carolina was threatening in the final 30 seconds of play when Newton and WR Kelvin Benjamin connected on a 14-yard pass. Benjamin had the ball stripped from his hands by CB Marcus Peters, who returned the ball to Carolina’s 24. From there, the Chiefs’ Chris Santos connnected on a 37-yard field goal as time ran out, sending Panther fans home in a somewhat foul mood. While Alex Smith threw for 178 yards with three sacks and an interception, Newton threw for 261 yards and a TD and had a rushing TD himself in the contest, which didn’t have a lot of firepower in the run game, as neither team breched the 100-yard barrier (Carolina did manage to outrush Kansas City 99-91).

They met in week six in the Big Easy and Carolina rallied from a 24-10 deficit at the half and tied things up when Newton scored on a 1-yard run with 2:58 left, only to see New Orleans take the lead back for the second time and for keeps when Saints K Will Lutz connected on a 52-yard try with 11 seconds left to play for the 3-point win buy a 41-38 final. Carolina won the rushing battle in the first meeting in the Big Easy, tallying 103 yards on the ground to New Orleans’ 63. Brees did win the passing battle, throwing for 465 yards and four TDs, while Newton threw for 322 yards and two TDs (each man threw an interception in the NFC South contest). Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart led all rushers with 85 yards (19 carries) and a pair of TDs for Carolina, while the Saints were led by Mark Ingram with 51 yards on 16 carries.

Carolina was favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under was 55 1/2. The Saints covered the spread with their 3-point win and both teams covered the over/under with 79 combined points. The oddsmakers in Vegas are going out on a limb and picking Carolina as the favorite again, this time by 3 1/2 with a 52 1/2 over/under. One team will be a 1/2 game behind Atlanta in the NFC South, the other will gain a 1/2 game. Carolina gains the 1/2 game and wins in the Tar Heel State but they won’t cover the 3 1/2.

The 2016 Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light season continues with the Carolina Panthers hosting the New Orleans Saints in a NFC South divisional matchup Thursday, November 17 at 8:25 p.m. from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on NBC, NFL Network, Twitter and NFL Mobile from Verizon.

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth along with reporter Heather Cox call the action. Saints-Panthers is the first of five Thursday Night Football games which will be broadcast on NBC, simulcast on NFL Network and streamed on Twitter.

At 6 p.m. on NFL Network, TNF GameDay Presented by KFC previews the Saints-Panthers matchup from outside Bank of America Stadium. Host Rich Eisen is joined by analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk and Michael Irvin to provide news and analysis two hours before kickoff, along with reporters Heather Cox and Stacey Dales.

At 7:30 p.m., Football Night in Carolina Presented by Mercedes-Benz airs from inside Bank of America Stadium with Bob Costas, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. Coverage continues at 8 p.m. with Tostitos Football Night in Carolina providing the final say leading up to kick-off between Saints-Panthers.

Among the NFL Network pregame topics are:
•Feature on former NFL running back Warrick Dunn and the Saints bringing two families together that have been impacted by violence
•Why has Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled this season, and what should be expected from him vs. the Saints?
•How Saints quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton have kept their offense elite despite changing skill players
•Which NFC team will make a playoff run?

At halftime, the Lexus Halftime show breaks down the first half of Saints-Panthers from Charlotte.

Immediately following the Volkswagon Postgame Show on NBC/NFL Network, the Mazda Postgame show airs live on NFL Network from Bank of America Stadium with Eisen, Mariucci, Faulk and Irvin providing highlights, analysis and live interviews.

Twitter will stream NBC’s broadcast of Saints-Panthers, providing free, live streaming video on the Twitter platform on mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs. Fans can visit Twitter Moments or TNF.Twitter.com to view the live stream.

The entire 18-game Thursday Night Football schedule, including the live games and pre- and postgame shows, will also be streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app on XBOX, including interactive features from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network on tablets, PCs and various connected TV devices (NFL.com/watch), with participating television providers. Learn all of the ways to watch at NFL.com/TNF. An audio broadcast of the game is available on SiriusXM, TuneIn & Westwood One Radio Sports.

Watch TNF GameDay on NFL Network for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LI. Every Thursday, the TNF Big Heads will compete in weekly challenges. Tweet who won this week’s challenge using #BigHeadBlitz #Promotion for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LI. Visit bigheadblitz.com for details.

Thursday Night Football is available in Spanish via SAP (Secondary Audio Program) with Roberto Abramowitz calling the action on NBC and NFL Network.

Injury Report

New Orleans
OUT: T Terron Armstead (Knee), RB Daniel Lasco (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Delvin Breaux (Fibula), RB Travaris Cadet (Toe)

Carolina
OUT: LB Aaron Klein (Concussion), T Michael Oher (Concussion), S Colin Jones (Concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: C Gino Gradkowski (Knee), C Ryan Kalil (Shoulder)

Referee: Pete Morelli

Broadcast Information: 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Twitter: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (New Orleans), 81 (Carolina). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (New Orleans), 225 (Carolina).

Weather Outlook: Clear and 55 degrees.

Broadcast information, officials and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. 

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