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Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. The final Thursday night game of the 2018 campaign features a pair of AFC West rivals, looking to make the post-season party. The Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers travel to Arrowhead to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in an AFC West showdown in the Show-Me State. Both teams enter the Thursday night contest with close home wins under their belts.

Los Angeles survived a scare from the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday at Stub Hub Centre, coming away 26-21 winners on the West Coast. The Chargers led 17-12 at the intermission, then held off a late Cincinnati rally in the second half to take the win. Cincinnnati did outrush Los Angeles 144-85, with Bengals running back Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD but Rivers threw for 220 yards with no interceptions, as he outpaced Bengals backup QB Jeff Driskel (who took over for Andy Dalton), who threw for 170 yards and no interceptions (both men threw a TD pass, Driskel was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked twice). Both teams were 5 of 13 on third down conversions in the late afternoon contest on the West Coast and the Chargers were 1 of 1 on fourth down, keeping the ball for 27:22, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 32:38 but went 0 for 1 on fourth down tries.

The Chiefs clinched a playoff spot in the AFC last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens but needed overtime to come out on top 23-20 at Arrowhead. Kansas City led 17-10 at the break before the Ravens would storm back in the second half and took a 24-17 lead with 4:04 left to play when Lamar Jackson (who took over for Joe Flacco) and WR Darnell Brown connected on a 9-yard TD toss. Kansas City would bring things back to even when Mahomes and RB Darrien Williams connected on a 5-yard TD toss with 58 seconds left. The Chiefs then prevented Baltimore from driving in the final seconds of regulation and the two clubs went into overtime. Kansas City won the toss, got the ball first and made the most of their first possession as K Harrison Butker, who missed earlier from 43 yards, connected on a 35-yarder with 4:42 left in the extra period. Baltimore then got the ball back and threatened to either re-tie the contest or take the win, as they would get as close as Kansas City’s 47-yard line before the two-minute warning came. After the two-minute warning, Jackson scrambled to the Chiefs’ 44-yard line but the Ravens were penalized for holding and were pusshed back. Jackson scrambled again for four yards but the Ravens were again flagged for holding again and Jackson was injured on the play. The Ravens then used a timeout and Robert Griffin III came into to replace Jackson and his first attempt to WR John Brown was incomplete. After the Chiefs burned a timeout and the Ravens had one last chance but the Chiefs would seal the win when Griffin’s pass to Willie Snead IV sailed incomplete.

Baltimore did outrush Kansas City 198-94 but Mahomes threw for 377 yards and a pair of TDs (including one to TE Travis Kelce) with an interception, while Jackson threw for 147 yards and a pair of TDs of his own, with three sacks and no interceptions (Mahomes sacked three times and picked off once). The Chiefs were 6 of 16 on third down but was successful on fourth down tries at Arrownhead, going 3 for 3 and kept the ball for 37 minutes, while the Ravens kept the ball for 31:27 and were 5 for 12 on third down, 1 for 3 on fourth down.

They met in week one at the Stub Hub Centre in Carson and the Chargers trailed Kansas City 17-12 at StubHub Center at the intermission and the Chiefs would go on to take a 38-28 AFC West win in the season opener for both teams. The Chargers did manage to outrush Kansas City 123-106 and Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and three TDs, while the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes threw for 256 yards with four TDs and no interceptions (Mahomes was sacked once, while Rivers was sacked once and picked off once). The Chargers were 3 of 11 on third down but found success on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and kept the ball for 34:26, while the Chiefs kept the ball for a mere 25:34, going 4 of 10 on fourth down.

The Chargers were 3 1/2 point favorites at Stub Hub Centre and the the Chiefs covered with the 10-point win in the first meeting. As for the 48 1/2 over/under? Both teams took care of that, tallying 56 points. With the AFC West on the line, the boys and girls in Vegas like the Chiefs as 3 1/2 point favorites at Arrowhead with a 53 over/under. The Chiefs are trying to win the West, the Chargers are trying to make the playoffs in the last Thursday night contest of the 2018 season. This one is worth taping “Big Bang” and “Young Sheldon” this week. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City. Chiefs win at home but expect the Chargers to make this one closer than 3 1/2 at Arrowhead.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Los Angeles Chargers), 83 (Kansas City); XM: 226 (Los Angeles Chargers), 225 (Kansas City)

Referee: Walt Anderson

Injury Report

Los Angeles Chargers
DOUBTFUL: DT Brandon Mebane (Not Injury Related)
OUT: TE Sean Culkin (Back), RB Austin Ekeler (Neck), CB Trevor Williams (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Melvin Gordon (Knee)

Kansas City
DOUBTFUL: G Cameron Erving (Knee), RB Spencer Ware (Shoulder)
OUT: WR Sammy Watkins (Foot)
QUESTIONABLE: S James Berry (Heel), WR Tryeek Hill (Heel)

Weather: Overcast with a 30 percent chance of rain and 38 degrees :

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

New Orleans (10-1) at Dallas (6-5), 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. A pair of first-place domed teams meet in the Lone Star State as the Dallas Cowboys host the New Orleans Saints in Arlington with both teams coming off Thanksgiving Day home wins.

For the Saints, they took care of Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons 31-17 in the Big Easy Thanksgiving night, while picking up their tenth win in a row. New Orleans led from start to finish and took a 17-3 lead with them to the intermission and never looked back. While rushing for 150 yards, New Orleans held their NFC South rivals from the Big Peach to 26 yards rushing. Ryan did throw for 377 yards with a pair of TDs to Calvin Ridley and Tevin Coleman but was sacked six times and picked off once, while Drew Brees threw for 171 yards and four TDs (Brees was sacked once and threw an interception). New Orleans forced five turnovers in the win and went 5 for 11 on third down tries, holding the ball for 29:01, while Atlanta actually ruled the clock and kept the pigskin to themselves for 30:59, while going 5 of 15 on third down and 4 of 6 on fourth down.

Dallas also took a Thanksgiving Day win at home, taking down Washington 31-23 at AT&T Stadium last Thursday afternoon, pulling themselves to a tie for first place in the NFC East with the Redskins. The Cowboys led 10-7 at the intermission, then proceeded to outpace Washington 21-16 in the second half to avenge a three-point loss at Landover a few weeks earlier. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 121 yards and a TD as Dallas outrushed Washington 146-80 and Dak Prescott threw for 289 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper, while Washington’s Colt McCoy threw for 268 yards with a pair of TDs and three interceptions. Dallas went 6 for 14 on third down (the Cowboys were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:23, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:37, going 4 for 11 on third down conversions in the Thursday afternoon contest.

Dallas leads the series 16-12 and the Cowboys have outscored the Saints 591-550. New Orleans won the last meeting with Dallas, coming away 26-20 overtime winners in the Big Easy in 2015, while Dallas’ last win in the series came in the Lone Star State by a final of 38-17 in 2014. The oddsmakers in Vegas like the Saints as a 7 1/2-point favorite away from the Big Easy with a 52 1/2 over/under. Those numbers make sense. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisions and the Saints are right now the king of the NFC mountain and the one seed in the event the playoffs were to start Thursday night. As for Dallas, they would like nothing more than to end New Orleans’ reign of terror. Saints fans, your hearts are about to be broken. Dallas may not cover the 7 1/2 but they do take the win in the Lone Star State.

Broadcast Information: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boseli; SIRIUS: 81 (New Orleans), 83 (Dallas); XM: 226 (New Orleans), 225 (Dallas)

Referee: Walt Anderson

Injury Report

New Orleans

OUT: T Terron Armstead (Pectoral)

Dallas

OUT: WR Tavon Austin (Groin), DE David Irving (Ankle), LB Sean Lee (Hamstring), TE Geoffery Swaim (Wrist)

QUESTIONABLE: T Tyron Smith (Neck), DT Maliek Collins (Knee), G Zach Martin (Knee), G Xavier Su’a-Filo (Ankle)

Weather Forecast: Game indoors.

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

Carolina (6-2) at Pittsburgh (5-2-1), 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. Week 10 opens in the Steel City as Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Both teams took major divisional wins in last Sunday’s action, with Carolina winning at home, while the Steelers were road victors.

The Panthers, in picking up their third win in a row, took a 35-14 lead with them to the intermission against Tampa Bay last Sunday at Bank of America Stadium and came away 42-28 winners over their NFC South rivals. The Panthers outrushed Tampa Bay 179-82 (Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey led all rushers with 79 yards and a pair of rushing TDs), while Newton threw for 247 yards and a pair of TDs. Carolina, who sacked Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (243 yards, four TDs, two interceptions) four times, went 4 for 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 31 minutes, while the Buccaneers kept the ball for 29 minutes, going 5 for 12 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Pittsburgh got their revenge on Baltimore from their week four loss to Baltimore at Heinz Field and took down the Ravens 23-16 at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City, giving the Ravens their third loss in a row. Pittsburgh led 14-6 at the intermission, then held off the Ravens as they were outscored by Baltimore 10-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. Pittsburgh outrushed Baltimore 113-61, with Steelers RB James Conner leading everyone with 107 yards. Roethlisberger threw for 270 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Antonio Brown, the other to Conner), while Joe Flacco led Baltimore with 209 yards (Roethlisberger was sacked once, Flacco was sacked twice; neither man threw an interception). Pittsburgh was 10 for 16 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:29, while the Ravens, who held the pigskin for 23:31, went 4 for 12 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Pittsburgh leads the series 5-1, the Steelers have outscored Carolina 175-77 and after Carolina won the first meeting, taking an 18-14 win in Charlotte in 1996, Pittsburgh has won five in a row, with their last win coming in 2014 in Charlotte by a final of 37-19. The odds makers in Vegas like the Steelers at home as a 4-point favorite on Thursday night and the over/under’s 52. Both numbers make sense and both Newton and Roethlisberger could put the over/under up by the end of the 3rd quarter. These two are playoff contenders, which could very well mean that we will see them come January. Carolina makes it closer than the 4 but the Steelers take the win in the Steel City.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Carolina), 83 (Pittsburgh); XM: 226 (Carolina), 225 (Pittsburgh)

Referee: Walt Coleman

Injury Report

Carolina
OUT: DE Marquis Haynes (Illness), WR James Smith (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: C Ryan Kalil (Ankle), DE Mario Addison (Shoulder), LB David Mayo (Groin), S Eric Reid (Shoulder)

Pittsburgh
OUT: T Marcus Gilbert (Knee), DT Daniel McCullers (Ankle)

Weather: Partly cloudy and 40 degrees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

 

Oakland (1-6) at San Francisco (1-7), 8:20 p.m. on FOX and NFL Network. A pair of struggling Bay Area neighbors meet Thursday evening in Santa Clara as San Francisco, in last place in the NFC West, host struggling Oakland, last in the AFC West to open play in week nine. Both teams enter Thursday night’s prime time contest with losses under their belts.

Oakland and David Carr lost their third game in a row after Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts left the Oakland Coliseum with a 42-28 win. The Silver and Black led 14-13 at the intermission after Colts K Adam Vinatieri made it a one-point contest with 26 seconds left, then watched the Colts outpace them 29-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Colts outrushed Oakland 222-103, with RB Marlon Mack leading the way with 132 yards and a pair of rushing TDs, while Raiders RB Doug Martin rushed for 72 yards in the contest. Passing-wise, Luck threw for 239, while Carr tallied 244 (each man threw three TDs without a sack or interception). The Raiders were 4 of 8 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:30, while the Colts had time on their side (apologies to Mick Jagger fans!) and held on to the ball for 36:30, going 9 for 13 on third down conversions.

The 49ers saw a 12-3 lead at the end of the third quarter escape from them as Arizona would score 15 fourth quarter points unchallenged to take an 18-15 win in Glendale last Sunday. San Francisco led the Desert Angry Birds by a baseball-like score of 5-3 at the break, then scored their lone TD of the contest when WR Marquise Goodwin and QB C.J. Beatherd connected on a 55-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. After the 49ers added a Robbie Gould field goal, Arizona then went to work in the final 15 minutes of action, with Josh Rosen connecting on TD passes to WR Larry Fitzgerald and WR Christian Kirk to give Arizona the lead for keeps. Arizona then held off a late 49er rally to come away with the win, while giving San Francisco their fifth loss in a row. While the 49ers did outrush Arizona 107-88, Rosen outpaced Beatherd, throwing for 252 yards with three sacks and an interception to go with the two TDs (Beatherd threw for 190 yards with four sacks and no interceptions). Third down tries? San Francisco was 5 of 15, Arizona was 6 of 14 at State Farm Stadium Sunday afternoon and the 49ers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:19 to Arizona’s 27:41.

Oakland leads the series 7-6, while San Francisco has outscored the Silver and Black 291-240 (which includes contests that took place at Keezar Stadium, Candlestick Park and in Los Angeles). Oakland won the last meeting with San Francisco, taking a 24-13 win at home in 2014, while San Francisco’s last win in the series came in 2010 at Candlestick by a final of 17-9.

San Francisco’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. These are two really bad teams and we wouldn’t blame you one bit if you watched “Young Sheldon” or “Greys Anatomy” instead of this contest. Pickiing a winner is like chugging castor oil. It’s not pleasant but it’s got to be done. san Francisco takes this one and covers the 3.

Broadcast Information – 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Tom McCarthy, Mike Holmgren; SIRIUS: 81 (Oakland), 83 (San Francisco); XM: 226 (Oakland), 225 (San Francisco)

Referee: Carl Cheffers

Injury Report

Oakland
OUT: T Trevor Clemmings (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Gareon Conley (Foot), G Kelechi Osemele (Knee), CB Daryl Worley (Shoulder)

San Francisco
OUT: S Antone Exum (Concussion), LB Reuben Foster (Hamstring), S Jaquiski Tartt (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Casey Beathard (Right Wrist), RB Matthew Breida (Ankle), WR Pierre Garcon (Shoulder), RB Dominique Mostert (Ankle), C Weston Richburg (Knee), CB Richard Sherman (Calf)

Weather: Partly cloudy and 78 degrees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

Denver (2-4) at Arizona (1-5), 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. Week 7 kicks off on Thursday as Denver pays a visit to the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium as both teams look to rebound from Week 6 losses.

The Broncos fell to the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams 23-20 last Sunday at chilly Broncos Stadium at Mile High last Sunday. Denver trailed 13-3 at the half, then pulled themselves to within 7 with 8:54 left in the third when K Brian McManus connected on a 24yard field goal. Los Angeles would then respond with a 21-yard field goal from Chris Santos to pull themselve back to a 10-point cushion. Denver would make it a 3-point contest with 82 seconds left when WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Case Keenum connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Rams burned Denver for 270 yards on the ground with Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley running for 208 yards and a pair of TDs (Denver rushed for 60 yards, with Keenum throwing for 322 yards and a pair of TDs, connecting with WR Emmanuel Sanders on the other toss), while Jarred Goff threw for 201 yards with five sacks and an interception (Keenum was sacked twice and threw an interception).

Denver on third down tries in the home loss went 3 of 10 (the Broncos were 0 of 1 on fourth down conversions and held the ball for 24:50, while the Rams ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:10, going 8 of 17 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Arizona was taken to the woodshed by Minnesota 27-17 at US Bank Stadium last Sunday in the Twin Cities. The Desert Angry Birds trailed 13-10 at the half, then watched the Vikings pull away in the second half, outscoring Arizona 14-7 in the final 30 minutes. Minnesota outrushed Arizona 195-61, with Vikings RB Latavius runnig for 155 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards and a TD to wR Adam Thielen. Arizona’s Josh Rosen threw for 240 and four sacks in the loss (both Rosen and Cousins threw an interception in the contest). Arizona, who turned the ball over twice and got a fumble recovery by S Budda Baker, went 0 of 10 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 25:45, while the Vikings held the ball for 34:15, gonig 5 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver leads the series 8-1-1, which includes games that were played in St. Louis and at old Mile High Stadium and they have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 289-149. They last met in the Mile High City in 2014 and the Broncos were 41-20 winners, while Arizona’s last win in the series came in 2010 in Glendale by a final of 43-13. Denver’s favored by 2 1/2 on the road and the over/under’s 40 1/2. We wouldn’t blame you if you decide to watch “Big Bang Theory” or “Young Sheldon” this week. Both teams are struggling in their respective divisons and would love nothing more than to right their respective ships. Denver covers the 2 1/2 and wins in the desert.

Broadcast Information: 8:20 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 81 (Denver), 83 (Arizona); XM: 226 (Denver), 225 (Arizona)

Referee: Alex Kemp

Injury Report

Denver
OUT: CB Adam Jones (Thigh), G Ronald Leary (Achilles), LB Shane Ray (Ankle), S Dymonte Thomas (Chest), T Edwin Veldheer (Knee)

Arizona
OUT: S Jayestin Boston (Shoulder) G Mike Iupati (Back), G Jeremy Vujnovich (Hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: G Justin Pugh (Hand), CB Jamar Taylor (Back)

Weather Forecast: Game indoors; if roof is open, sunny and 79 degreees

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)

 

Denver (4-9) at Indianapolis (3-10), 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime. A pair of AFC teams with almost no playoff hopes open action in week 15 as the Indianapolis Colts return to Indianapolis to face off against the Denver Broncos.

Denver aims for its second consecutive win after defeating the New York Jets 23-0 in Week 14. The Broncos led 13-0 at halftime at Sports Authority Field, then added more fuel to the fire by scoring their last 10 points of the contest unchallenged. Denver outrushed the Jets 84-59 and held Josh McCown to 46 yards passing, sacking him four times and knocking him out of the contest with a broken hand, while Trevor Siemian threw for 200 yards, connecting with WR Demaryius Thomas on a 20-yard TD strike in the first quarter. Denver went 7 of 17 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:35, while New York was 3 of 13 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the pigskin for 22:25.

The Colts return home from chilly and snowy Buffalo and looks to rebound following a 13-7 overtime loss at Buffalo last week. Colts running back Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards at New Era Stadium in a contest that was played pretty much in a blizzard (game time temperature? 32 degrees with snow and a wind chill of 16) in upstate New York. Indy trailed 7-0 at the break, then tied things up with 76 seconds left in regulation when TE Jack Doyle and QB Jacoby Brissett connected on a 3-yard TD strike, sending the contest into overtime. Buffalo won the toss in overtime but failed to score in their first possession and the Colts did likewise when they had the ball in the overtime.

The Bills then got the ball back after a Colts punt with 2:25 left in the extra period and they wasted little time to take the win, using a five-play, 65-yard drive that took 52 seconds, sending their fans home happy if not warm when LeSean McCoy dashed through the snow and scored from 21 yards out to take the win. Buffalo rushed for 227 yards (McCoy led all rushers with 156 yards), while the Colts tallied 163 in the overtime loss. Brisset threw for 65 yards while Nick Peterman threw for 57. The Colts went 4 of 16 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down and held the ball for 36:02, while Buffalo kept the pigskin for 32:25, going 10 of 18 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Denver leads the regular season series 13-10 (including games that took place in Baltimore) and the Broncos have outscored the Colts 526-483 in those contests. Denver won the last meeting with the Colts in the Mile High City last year, taking a 34-20 win last year (Indy’s last win over the Colts came in 2015 in the Hoosier State by a final of 27-24).

They met in week 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and the Broncos broke a 3-3 first quarter tie, taking a 13-6 lead with them to the break, then outscoring the Colts in the second half by a 21-14 margin. Denver outrushed Indy 134-83, Siemian threw for 266 yards for Denver, while Andrew Luck threw for 197 yards with a TD but was sacked five times and picked off once. Denver was 5 of 11 on third down and the Broncos ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:41, while the Colts went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 29:19.

In the week two contest in the Rocky Mountains, Denver was favored by 6 and covered the spread, winning by 14. Both clubs combined for 54 points, covering the 46 over/under. In the Thursday evening contest in Indy, Denver’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 40 1/2. It’s safe to say that neither team will reach the .500 mark or will be going to the post-season, so feel free to watch “Big Bang Theory” and “Scandal” this week. Denver covers the 1 1/2 and wins in the Hoosier State.

Broadcast Information – 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kenny Albert, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Denver), 83 (Indianapolis);| XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (Denver), 83 (Indianapolis)

Referee: Terry McAulay

Injury Report

Denver
OUT: QB Paxton Lynch (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Domata Peko (Knee)

Indianapolis
OUT: WR Donte Moncrief (Ankle), C Ryan Kelly (Concussion), TE Darrell Daniels (Hamstring), CB Nathan Hairston (Concussion), CB Rashaan Melvin (Hand)

Weather Information: Game indoors; if roof is open, cloudy and 27 degrees

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

New Orleans (9-3) at ATLANTA (7-5), 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime. They came into the league at the same time. They don’t like each other. One city’s hosted an Olympics, the other’s hosts Mardi Gras. It’s Peach Pie vs. Gumbo as NeW Orleans travels to Atlanta for an important NFC contest to open play in week 14.

The Saints swept their series with Carolina Sunday afternoon in the Big Easy, as New Orleans came away 31-21 winners over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Carolina trailed 21-14 at the intermission before the Saints pulled away in the second half to take the win. Carolina made it a 10-point contest with 3:57 left in regulation when Newton (183 yards) and WR Devin Funchess connected on a 24-yard TD pass (it was the second TD pass of the day for Newton; he had connected with WR Christian McCaffrey in the first half to pull the Panthers to within seven). Carolina then tried an onside kick which they thought was successful but Funchess’ effort to keep the ball failed after the Saints challenged the call. New Orleans won the challenge and took control after that. New Orleans outrushed Carolina 148-112 and it was the Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara show as Ingram ran for 85 yards and TD, while Kamara chipped in with 60 yards and a pair of rushing TDs of his own and Brees threw for 269 yards in the contest in the Big Easy without being intercepted. New Orleans was 6 of 15 on third down conversions in the rematch (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:21, while the Panthers were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the pigskin for 26:39.

Atlanta was held without a TD for the first time since they were shutout at Carolina in 2015, scoring only three Matt Bryant field goals to fall to Minnesota 14-9 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta trailed 7-6 at the half, then took a 9-7 lead with 11:57 left in the third and took that lead into the fourth quarter, when Minnesota took the lead back for keeps when Vikings QB Case Keenum (227 yards, two sack) and TE Kyle Rudolph connected on a 6-yard TD pass to open play in the fourth quarter. Minnesota outrushed Atlanta 105-102 and held Matt Ryan to 173 yards in the air in the win. Atlanta on third down was a somewhat dismal 1 of 10 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 25:58, while the Vikings went 6 of 12, keeping the pigskin for 34:02.

They’ve met 95 times since joining the National Football League, the Falcons lead the series 50-45 and Atlanta has outscored the Saints 2,113-1,985. They met last year and Atlanta swept the series, taking wins in the Big Peach and the Big Easy (New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2015, when they swept the series that year).

Round 1… week 3… the Big Easy. Atlanta broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, took a 28-17 at the intermission and left the Mercedes Benz Superdome with a 45-21 under their belts. Ryan (240 yards) threw a pair of TDs, while Brees (376 yards, interception) threw three TD passes in the Monday night affair that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina almost destoryed it. (Each man was sacked twice) Atlanta outrushed New Orelans 217-115, with Falcons RB DeVonta Freeman leading all rushers with 152 yards. The Falcons on third down tries went 5 of 11 but found success on fourth down, going 2 of 2 and the Falcons kept the ball for 27:26, while the Saints ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:34, going 7 of 13 on third down and 1 of 2 on fourth down.

That was round one. There’s a sequel to the series, you know.

They met again in the Big Peach in week 17 to close out the season. Winning the NFC South the week before in Charlotte, the Falcons sealed the deal and swept the series, coming away 38-32 winners in the final regular season game in the Georgia Dome. Leading 35-13 at the half, the Falcons held off a late New Orleans rally that would have ruined things for the Falcons. Ryan (331 yards) threw four TD passes in the contest, while Brees (350 yards) threw two fourth quarter TDs in the contest. As was the case in the first meeting, Atlanta outrushed New Orleans, this time tallying 142 yards to New Orleans’ 132. Ingram led all rushers with 103 yards on the ground, while Freeman tallied 96 (each had a rushing TD in the contest). The Falcons on third down in the rematch went 6 of 11 and kept the ball for 29:45, while the Saints were 7 of 16 on third down, 3 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 30:15.

New Orleans was favored by 3 in the week 3 Monday night contest and the Falcons covered the spread, winning by 13. Both teams scored a combined 66 points, covering the 54. In the season finale, the Falcons were favored by 7 but barely won by 6. The two clubs easily took care of the 55 1/2 over/under, combining for 70 points.

In the Thursday night matchup in the Big Peach, the Saints are favored by 1 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. Atlanta would like nothing more than to catch the Saints (who they will play in New Orleans in two weeks) and rule the NFC South again. As for the Saints, they’re on top of the NFC South and want to stay there. Someone’s going to cover the 1 and that someone will be Atlanta. The Falcons prevail in the Big Peach and let the Saints know they rule the roost.

Broadcast Information: 8:25 p.m. on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox (Field reporter): NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New Orleans), 83 (Atlanta); XM: 88 (WestWood1), 81 (New Orleans), 83 (Atlanta)

Referee: Clete Blakeman

Injury Report

New Orleans
OUT: G Andrus Peat (Groin)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Mark Ingram (Toe), T Terron Armstead (Thigh), DE Collins Hendrickson (Knee), CB Marshon Lattimore (Ankle), S Marcus Williams (Groin)

Atlanta
OUT: G Andrew Levitre (Triceps), TE Eric Saubert (Back)

Weather: Game Indoors; if roof is open, Cloudy with a 60 percent chance of rain and 43 degrees

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