The New Orleans Saints have "bigger fish to fry" after clinching the NFC South championship on Thursday, according to quarterback Drew Brees.

A 26-18 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving Day made the Saints the first team to secure a spot in the postseason and avenged a surprise 26-9 loss to the same team at the Superdome in Week 10.

Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch for the opening score, before adding a 30-yard run in the second quarter as the Saints improved to 10-2.

"Three NFC South championships in a row, and this one being the earliest we've been able to secure it, on Thanksgiving, says a lot about our organisation," said Brees, who finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions against the Falcons.

Asked about the players celebrating the title in t-shirts stating "the south is not enough", Brees responded: "This was objective number one, obviously, win the division.

"But I think you know our mindset and the group of guys we have in there, and just kind of how we've progressed each and every year. We've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

"We've got a list of goals and objectives and we want to knock them down one by one, but let's keep it simple right now. Let's just focus on playing our best football. I still think it's out there, on both sides of the ball.

"If we continue to do that and get better every week we'll be peaking at the right time."

Head coach Sean Payton said: "Look, it doesn't happen much before Thanksgiving. This is our sixth [division title] now, third in a row. It's one of the goals, and for it to happen this early, it's the first step.

"It's hard to win in this league, it's hard to win on the road. I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Mrs B [owner Gayle Benson], ownership.

"You know, a lot of work goes into putting the right team together. And it's a challenging business. It's all worth it when you win and you have a chance and you're playing for something."

The New Orleans Saints have "bigger fish to fry" after clinching the NFC South championship on Thursday, according to quarterback Drew Brees.

A 26-18 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving Day made the Saints the first team to secure a spot in the postseason and avenged a surprise 26-9 loss to the same team at the Superdome in Week 10.

Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch for the opening score, before adding a 30-yard run in the second quarter as the Saints improved to 10-2.

"Three NFC South championships in a row, and this one being the earliest we've been able to secure it, on Thanksgiving, says a lot about our organisation," said Brees, who finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions against the Falcons.

Asked about the players celebrating the title in t-shirts stating "the south is not enough", Brees responded: "This was objective number one, obviously, win the division.

"But I think you know our mindset and the group of guys we have in there, and just kind of how we've progressed each and every year. We've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

"We've got a list of goals and objectives and we want to knock them down one by one, but let's keep it simple right now. Let's just focus on playing our best football. I still think it's out there, on both sides of the ball.

"If we continue to do that and get better every week we'll be peaking at the right time."

Head coach Sean Payton said: "Look, it doesn't happen much before Thanksgiving. This is our sixth [division title] now, third in a row. It's one of the goals, and for it to happen this early, it's the first step.

"It's hard to win in this league, it's hard to win on the road. I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Mrs B [owner Gayle Benson], ownership.

"You know, a lot of work goes into putting the right team together. And it's a challenging business. It's all worth it when you win and you have a chance and you're playing for something."

The New Orleans Saints claimed their third consecutive NFC South title courtesy of a 26-18 NFL win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Taysom Hill starred for the Saints (10-2), who maintained their stranglehold on the NFC South by celebrating on Thanksgiving.

Hill blocked a punt to set up a three-yard touchdown catch, while he later produced a 30-yard score as the Saints topped the Falcons (3-9) on Thursday.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees set up Hill for the opening TD in the first quarter and the latter gave New Orleans a 17-9 half-time lead via a 30-yard run after Atlanta's Matt Ryan had connected with Jaeden Graham.

Brees finished 18 of 30 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in Atlanta.

Will Lutz kept things ticking over with a 47-yard field goal in the third goal as the Saints moved clear of the Falcons, who were without Julio Jones due to a shoulder injury.

It was a tough night for Falcons quarterback Ryan after he committed three second-half turnovers – two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Ryan's fumble in the fourth quarter and Vonn Bell's recovery helped tee up Lutz's fourth field goal from 45 yards.

A 13-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Russell Gage reduced the deficit with less than four minutes remaining but the Falcons – last in the division – were unable to avoid a second straight home loss.

Falcons veteran Ryan finished 35 of 50 for 312 yards and nine sacks.

The Buffalo Bills can take another step towards the play-offs on Thanksgiving Day, while the San Francisco 49ers' clash with the Baltimore Ravens is among the standout Week 13 NFL match-ups.

Buffalo are 8-3 after back-to-back wins over the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos and can make it a happy holiday for their supporters with another victory on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

The struggling Detroit Lions host the Chicago Bears in the first Thanksgiving Day showdown, with NFL South leaders the New Orleans Saints making a trip to take on bottom side the Atlanta Falcons later in the day.

Baltimore will be out to inflict just a second defeat on the rampant Niners on Sunday before the New England Patriots come up against AFC South front-runners the Houston Texans.

We take a look at the Week 13 schedule using Stats Perform data.

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Bears (5-6) at Lions (3-7-1) 12:30pm

- This is the 180th meeting between the Bears and Lions and the 18th on Thanksgiving Day. The Bears have won the past three meetings and are looking to win four in a row against Detroit for the first time since 2008-10 (six straight wins).

- The Lions started the season 2-0-1 but have lost seven of their past eight games and four in a row. 

- The Bears have not led at the end of the first quarter since Week 4 (7-0 versus Minnesota); the Lions have trailed at the end of the first quarter only once in their past eight games.

 

Bills (8-3) at Cowboys (6-5) 4:30pm

- Including Super Bowl wins in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, the Cowboys are 8-4 all-time against the Bills, though Buffalo won their previous meeting 16-6 in 2015 at Orchard Park. 

- The Bills' 8-3 record is their best through 11 games since 1996, and the team's 15.7 points allowed per game is its lowest in 20 years. 

- The Cowboys were held to their season-low point total in Sunday's 13-9 defeat against the Patriots.

 

Saints (9-2) at Falcons (3-8) 8:20pm

- The Saints have a league-low seven turnovers this season; the fewest they have ever had in a full season was 16 in 2018. 

- The Saints have not allowed an opposing player to rush for 100 yards in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

- The Falcons are looking to halt a four-game home losing streak, their longest since dropping their final four home matches of the 2006 season and the 2007 home opener. 

 

SUNDAY

Titans 6-5 at Colts (6-5) 1pm

- The Colts won the first meeting with the Titans this year 19-17 in Tennessee back in Week 2. Indianapolis have won three straight meetings with Tennessee and 14 of the past 16.

- The Titans started the season 2-4, but have won four of their five most recent matches to get right back into the playoff race. 

- Since the beginning of last year, Derrick Henry has 2,050 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 2,000 rushing yards and at least 20 rushing TDs.

 

Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11) 1pm

- The Bengals have won their past two games against the Jets, in 2013 and 2016, both with Andy Dalton at the helm. Dalton has thrown for 691 yards and six touchdowns across those two games.

- New York have held their past three opponents to under 300 yards of total offense, the longest active streak in the NFL and the Jets' most impressive run since 2015 - three straight games.

- The Bengals have allowed 69 plays of 20 or more yards this season, including at least four in every game. The Jets are 4-0 when they have four or more plays of 20+ yards this season.

 

Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6) 1pm

- The Redskins have lost their four most recent road games against the Panthers. No team has ever lost five straight matches at Carolina since the franchise began in 1995.

- Christian McCaffrey is averaging 102.1 rushing yards and 53.3 receiving yards per game this season. He would be only the second player in NFL history to average 100+ rushing and 50+ receiving yards per game in a season, along with Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell in 2016.

- Washington have scored fewer than 20 points in nine straight games, the longest streak by any NFL team since the Cardinals had a nine-game run in 2012

 

49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2) 1pm

- These teams have met five times in the regular season, and once in Super Bowl XLVII. Baltimore hold a 4-2 edge from those matches.

- The 49ers beat the Packers 37-8 at home on Sunday - their fourth win by 24 or more points this season. That is tied for their second-most in franchise history.

- Baltimore beat the Rams 45-6 in Los Angeles on Monday and have now won three successive games by at least 34 points.

 

Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7) 1pm

- The Jaguars lost to the Titans 42-20 in Tennessee on Sunday and have been beaten in three consecutive games by 20+ points for the first time in franchise history. 

- Leonard Fournette has accounted for all three of Jacksonville's rushing touchdowns this season, the only player in the league with all of his team's rushing TDs. 

- Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had three touchdown passes and two interceptions in a 35-22 win over the Falcons last weekend, his second consecutive game with at least two of each and third in total this season.

 

Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9) 1pm

- The Packers and Giants last played in the wild-card Round in January 2017 when Green Bay beat New York 38-13. The Giants have won the past two meetings at the Meadowlands after dropping their previous four home games against the Packers.

- Green Bay have lost two of their past three games after going 7-1 to start the season, both defeats coming on the road.

- New York have lost seven straight matches after winning two in a row in Weeks 3 and 4. The Giants have not had an eight-game losing streak in a single season since 2004.

 

Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9) 1pm 

- The Eagles lost 17-9 at home to the Seahawks on Sunday and now have had three games this season scoring 10 points or fewer - including each of their past two.

- The Dolphins went down 41-24 to the Browns last weekend, but they have now scored 20+ points in four of their past six games after failing to do so in any of their first five. 

- Carson Wentz was sacked three times by the Seahawks, the fifth straight game in which he has been taken down at least three times - tied for the longest streak in the league this season.

 

Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5) 1pm

- The Steelers have won 15 straight home games against the Browns, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the fourth-longest home winning run by any team against any opponent all-time.

- After starting the season 2-6, the Browns have won three consecutive games. They have only won four in a row once since the franchise was resurrected and that was a decade ago.

- Pittsburgh have committed a turnover in 18 straight games, tying the team's longest such streak under Mike Tomlin (2008-09). 

 

Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1) 4:05pm

- The Rams have won four in a row against the Cardinals, their longest run in the match-up since reeling off five on the bounce from November 2002-September 2004. 

- Jared Goff completed 70.3 per cent of his passes in his team's loss to Baltimore on Monday, but threw two interceptions and averaged just 5.73 yards per attempt. 

- The Cardinals have stopped 39 rushing plays for negative yardage, second most in the NFL this season to the Jets (42, excludes kneel downs).

 

Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won four of the last five games at home to the Chargers, outgaining them in total offense 388.6-303.4 on average.

- The Chargers are the first team in NFL history to lose at least seven of their first 11 games with all of the defeats coming by seven points or fewer.

- Denver put up just 134 total net yard in a loss at Buffalo last week. It was their fewest yards in a single game since 1992 Week 6 at Washington (128). 

 

Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4) 4:25pm

- Patrick Mahomes has thrown 69 career touchdown passes in 26 games. With one touchdown pass on Sunday, he will become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 70. Dan Marino reached that tally in his 29th match.

- Oakland's five losses this season have been by an average of 18.0 points; the only team in the NFL with a larger average margin of defeat this term is the Dolphins (21.7). 

- The Chiefs have won six consecutive home games against the Raiders. Kansas City's average margin of victory in those six games is 15.3 points per game.

 

Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4) 8:20pm

- The Patriots are 8-1 versus the Texans in the regular season, including wins in each of the past six meetings. The only team that New England have a longer active win streak against is the Jets (eight).

- Houston have won three consecutive home games and boast a 4-1 home record this season.

- In his past five starts against the Texans, Tom Brady has averaged 309.6 passing yards per game with 16 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. 

 

MONDAY

Vikings (8-3) at Seahawks (9-2)

- The Vikings have won two games in a row and six of their past seven dating back to Week 5. 

- Over his five most recent games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Cousins has a 7.0 touchdown-interception ratio (21/3) for the season, on pace to be the highest single-season mark in franchise history. Brett Favre holds the current record: 4.7 TD/INT in 2009.

- Russell Wilson is 8-2 (.800) in his career on Monday night, tied with Randall Cunningham (also 8-2) for the best record by a QB on Mondays in the Super Bowl era (min. 10 games).

Carson Wentz had a Sunday to forget as the Philadelphia Eagles were beaten 17-9 in an NFC battle with the Seattle Seahawks, while Frank Gore moved third on the all-time NFL rushing list.

The injury-hit Eagles really needed a win to put pressure on NFC East leaders the Dallas Cowboys, but fell to 5-6 after quarterback Wentz and the Philadelphia offense failed to fire in Week 12.

Second-placed Seattle are 9-2 in the NFC West after improving their perfect record on the road to 6-0, Rashaad Penny playing a huge part in their fourth consecutive win.

Gore moved past Barry Sanders on the list of the leading rushers in a 20-3 victory for the Buffalo Bills over the Denver Broncos. 

Wil Lutz's last-gasp field goal snatched a 34-31 win for the New Orleans Saints over the Carolina Panthers, while Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was benched in a 16-10 success against the Cincinnati Bengals.

There were also victories for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. 

 

WENTZ UNABLE TO GET EAGLES SOARING

Eagles signal caller Wentz's critics were out in force again after he was 33 of 45 for 256 yards, with one touchdown.

There were also two interceptions and a couple of lost fumbles for the 26-year-old, who was also reportedly checked out for a hand injury.

Wentz threw a TD pass to Zach Ertz in the final minute, but the damage had already been done.

Seattle running back Rashaad Penny ran for a career-best 129 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown, while MVP contender Russell Wilson was sacked six times but was 13 of 25 for 200 yards, with one TD and one pick.

 

GORE THE MERRIER

Star running back Gore moved beyond Hall of Famer Sanders' tally of 15,269 yards with a seven-yard dart in the fourth quarter of a victory for the Bills.

Gore made 65 yards in 15 carries and took his career total to an astonishing 15,289 yards.

Buffalo are 8-3 in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots, while the struggling Broncos are 3-8 at the foot of the AFC West.

 

LUTZ SEALS DRAMATIC SAINTS WIN

Lutz stepped up as time expired to give the Saints a four-game lead over the Panthers at the top of the NFC South

Joey Slye missed a field goal at the other end from 28 yards out with two minutes to play, but Lutz held his nerve with a 33-yard kick.

Two attempts from Christian McCaffrey were in vain as Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in a captivating contest.

 

MORE PAIN FOR RUDOLPH

Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his part in an ugly brawl late in a defeat to the Browns last week.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit him on the head with it as things got out of hand in Week 11.

Steelers quarterback Rudolph escaped a ban, but he was sidelined during the clash with the sorry Bengals when Devlin Hodges replaced him during the third quarter.

Hodges wasted no time in making an impact, picking out James Washington for a 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown as the Bengals suffered yet another loss to go 0-11.

The Seattle Seahawks travel to the Philadelphia Eagles in one of several mouth-watering matchups as we head into Week 12 of the NFL season.

Both sides are looking to make a push for the playoffs and Sunday's meeting at Lincoln Financial Field could prove pivotal.

Elsewhere across a jam-packed schedule, reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots welcome the Dallas Cowboys, while the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers also go toe-to-toe in a heavyweight clash.

It all kicks off with the Indianapolis Colts at the Houston Texans in a Thursday showdown that is sure to whet the appetite as the division lead is on the line.

We take a look at the Week 12 schedule using Stats Perform data.

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Colts (6-4) at Texans (6-4) 8:20pm

- The Colts defeated the Texans 30-23 in Indianapolis in Week 7, their fourth win in their last five games against Houston. 

- DeAndre Hopkins has made seven or more receptions in his last six games, tied with two Andre Johnson streaks (in 2006 and 2012-13) for the longest in Texans history. 

- The Texans fell 41-7 to the Ravens in Baltimore last week – the fourth biggest loss in franchise history. Houston have not lost back-to-back regular-season games since the start of 2018.

 

SUNDAY

Giants (2-8) at Bears (4-6) 1pm

- The Giants will be making their first appearance at Soldier Field since a 27-21 loss to the Bears in 2013. 

- Chicago are allowing 16.4 points per game at home this season, the third lowest tally in the NFL behind New England (11.0) and Minnesota (15.6)

- The Giants have lost six consecutive games, the franchise's longest skid since a seven-game slide in 2014.

Panthers (5-5) at Saints (8-2) 1pm

- The Saints had won four straight games in the series, including a 2017 Wild Card Game, before dropping a Week 17 game last December in which New Orleans rested their key players.

- Christian McCaffrey has accounted for 45.5 per cent of the Panthers' total net yards in 2019 – easily the highest such percentage in the NFL.

- Michael Thomas needs six receptions to secure a third consecutive season with 100 or more catches. The Saints star would become the eighth player all-time to reach triple figures in three consecutive years.

Broncos (3-7) at Bills (7-3) 1pm

- The Bills have won three of the last four meetings with the Broncos, including a 26-16 triumph in New York in Week 3 of 2017, which was head coach Sean McDermott's third game at the helm of Buffalo.

- Denver have led in the fourth quarter in seven of their 10 games but have held on to win just three of them. 

- The Bills are 7-3 (or better) for the first time since 1999 (also 7-3). 

Steelers (5-5) at Bengals (0-10) 1pm

- The Steelers have won nine straight against the Bengals, including an 18-16 victory in the 2015 Wild Card round. 

- Pittsburgh lost at Cleveland last week, 21-7, putting up fewer than 300 yards of total offense for the seventh time this season.

- Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught one pass for zero yards last week, the first time in his career he has been held without at least one receiving yard. 

Dolphins (2-8) at Browns (4-6) 1pm

- The Dolphins and Browns will be meeting for the first time since 2016, a 30-24 Miami home win in overtime. 

- Cleveland will be vying to win three straight home games for the first time since 2014 after defeating the Bills and the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in the past two weeks. 

- The Dolphins rank last in the NFL with 603 rushing yards, the second lowest total by any team through 10 games in a season during the Super Bowl era (1991 Colts, 591). 

Buccaneers (3-7) at Falcons (3-7) 1pm

- Atlanta have swept the season series with Tampa Bay in each of the past two years and are seeking a sixth consecutive victory over the Buccaneers, which would match their longest winning streak against a divisional opponent since 2000-02 (Panthers). 

- Atlanta have produced 80.1 per cent of their total net yards via the pass, the highest percentage in the NFL this season, while Tampa Bay have allowed a league-high 78.1 per cent of their total yards through the air. 

- Jameis Winston has thrown three or more touchdown passes and recorded a passer rating of 110.0 or better in five straight meetings with the Falcons, the only quarterback to do so against one team in the Super Bowl era. 

Lions (3-6-1) at Redskins (1-9) 1pm

- The Lions have won four straight games against Washington, dating back to the 2009 season. 

- The Lions fell to the Cowboys, 35-27, in Detroit in Week 11, their third straight loss and sixth loss in their last seven games. 

- Washington fell to the Jets 34-17 at home in Week 11, the team's ninth straight home loss. This is tied for the second-longest home losing streak in franchise history and one shy of the longest such streak, which bridged the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

Raiders (6-4) at Jets (3-7) 1pm

- The Raiders have lost their last five road games against the Jets, last beating them in the Meadowlands in 1996.

- After having just 13 sacks on defense last season, the Raiders have totalled 25 so far this year, the largest sack increase by any team from last year to this year.

- Oakland's Josh Jacobs has averaged at least 4.00 yards per carry on at least 10 carries in each of his last nine games, the longest streak by any NFL rookie in the Super Bowl era.

Seahawks (8-2) at Eagles (5-5) 1pm

- Seattle have played consecutive overtime games for the second time in franchise history (Week 12-13 of 1990). 

- Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia have a 9-11 record from Weeks 1-11, ranking 19th in the NFL.

- Carson Wentz has 86 touchdown passes in 50 career starts for Philadelphia, the most in franchise history. 

Jaguars (4-6) at Titans (5-5) 4:05pm

- The Jaguars have lost back-to-back games by 20 or more points for the first time since 2014. Jacksonville have never lost by 20 or more points in three straight games.

- Tennessee are coming off a bye after erasing a nine-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the Chiefs 35-32 in Week 10. 

- Leonard Fournette has 1185 scrimmage yards, the most through the Jaguars' first 10 games of a season in franchise history.

Cowboys (6-4) at Patriots (9-1) 4:25pm

- The Patriots have won the last five meetings between these teams after the Cowboys won the first seven matchups. 

- The Cowboys have won three of their last four games after defeating the Lions 35-27 in Detroit in Week 11.

- After throwing for 444 yards in the win over the Lions, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys is now leading the NFL in passing yards per game this season (322.1). 

Packers (8-2) at 49ers (9-1) 8:20pm

- The Packers and 49ers are off to their best 10-game starts since 2011, when Green Bay won their first 10 and San Francisco started 9-1

- Green Bay have won two in a row against San Francisco and own a 36-30-1 all-time record in the matchup.

- Jimmy Garoppolo threw for a career-high 424 yards in the 49ers' win over the Cardinals in Week 11. 

MONDAY

Ravens (8-2) at Rams (6-4) 8:15pm

- Baltimore last faced the Rams when they were still in St Louis (Week 11 of 2015) and have won three straight fixtures between the teams dating back to 2007.

- The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing yards this season with 2031 in 10 games. 

- Lamar Jackson has 781 rushing yards this season, already the seventh-most by a quarterback in a single season. 

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan moved into 10th place for all-time passing yards in the NFL on Sunday.

Ryan surpassed Warren Moon for a place in the top 10 following the 34-year-old's performance in Atlanta's 29-3 win over the Carolina Panthers.

The Falcons star, who entered the contest with 49,072 yards – just behind Moon's 49,325 – finished with 311 yards on 21-of-31 passing.

Winner of the MVP Award in 2016, Ryan now has his sights set on ninth-placed John Elway, who finished his career with 51,475 yards.

New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (75,733) tops the list, ahead of New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady. Current NFL quarterbacks Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning are also in front of Ryan, as well as legendary trio Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino.

"It's pretty special, for sure," Ryan told the media about his personal achievement after the Week 11 victory over the Panthers.

"I've been fortunate to play for a long time and have some success. To be mentioned with all those other guys that are up there is special.

"I've always dreamed of being in that spot as a kid. When you hit milestones like that, it's always more fun in a win so you can celebrate with the guys."

 

 

Lamar Jackson overshadowed fellow quarterback Deshaun Watson as the Baltimore Ravens crushed the Houston Texans in Week 11 of the NFL season.

Jackson had four touchdown passes as the in-form Ravens recorded a sixth straight victory – their longest winning streak since 2000 – with a resounding 41-7 result at home in what was the headline act in the early schedule on Sunday.

The Dallas Cowboys had to work far harder to see off a Detroit Lions team once again without Matthew Stafford, while the Minnesota Vikings rallied from a 20-0 half-time deficit to beat the Denver Broncos 27-23.

Kyle Allen endured a rough outing as the Carolina Panthers surprisingly fell to the Atlanta Falcons, a result that puts the New Orleans Saints – 34-17 winners over the Tamp Bay Buccaneers – in the driving seat in the NFC South.

The Buffalo Bills moved to 7-3 with a 37-20 result against the Miami Dolphins and there was an excellent outing for Sam Darnold, his four touchdown passes helping the New York Jets to a 34-17 victory over a Washington Redskins franchise who now own a sorry 1-9 record.

 

RAVENS CONTINUE TO BE LEMAR-VELLOUS

It was billed as the battle between the former first-round picks and college rivals. Instead, the clash between dynamic duo Jackson – who threw four touchdown passes and also ran for 86 yards – and Watson turned into a lopsided contest.

Mark Ingram caught a pair of touchdowns while Gus Edwards galloped in on the ground for a 63-yard score against a Houston team who struggled badly, meaning they slip to 6-4 for the season.

They did at least avoid a shut-out loss on their travels, Carlos Hyde rumbling in from 41 yards out midway through the fourth quarter. It was a tough outing for Watson, though, as he managed just 169 yards passing while also throwing an interception.

With the Texans beaten, the Indianapolis Colts now top the AFC South after quarterback Jacoby Brissett led them to a 33-13 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on his return from a knee injury.

 

VIKINGS BUCK TREND TO BEAT BRONCOS

A first home loss of the season appeared on the cards for Minnesota when they mustered just 47 yards of offense in the first half.

However, Kirk Cousins engineered a stunning turnaround after the interval, the quarterback throwing for 319 yards and three scores, including a stunning 59-yard effort to Stefon Diggs.

They still had to survive a dramatic finish to prevail, though, as Denver failed to cap off a late fourth-quarter drive with a touchdown, throwing three incomplete passes after they had moved the ball to the four-yard line in the closing seconds.

 

NO DOUBTING THOMAS AS PANTHERS SLIP UP

After a stunning home loss to Atlanta in Week 10, New Orleans relied on Michael Thomas to help them returning to winning ways at the expense of Tampa Bay.

Wide receiver Thomas finished with eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, in the process becoming the first player in NFL history to record 90 or more receptions in the first 10 games of a season.

The Saints' 8-2 record gives them a comfortable cushion at the top of their division after nearest rivals Carolina fell to the Falcons, who picked off Panthers quarterback Allen four times in a dominant 29-3 road win.

The New England Patriots are one of 11 teams committed to attending quarterback Colin Kaepernick's scheduled workout on Saturday.

All 32 franchises have been invited to watch as Kaepernick - the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has not played since 2016 – eyes a return to the NFL.

On Thursday, the NFL announced the Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins have confirmed they will be present.

"It's only Thursday. With two days remaining until the workout, we expect additional teams to commit," the NFL said in a statement. "Former NFL head coach Hue Jackson will lead the drills, and former NFL head coach Joe Philbin will be in attendance as well.

"We will send video of the workout and interview to all 32 teams, including head coaches and general managers."

Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, during which the 32-year-old attracted controversy by kneeling for the national anthem in protest against racial inequality and police brutality.

He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. Kaepernick reached a settlement in February of this year.

Jackson, who last coached the Browns in 2018, told ESPN: "The NFL asked me to do it. I'm excited about doing it for Colin and the league. As far as I know right now, Colin is still attending."

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid – Kaepernick's team-mate at the 49ers – said the workout "feels like a PR stunt" on Wednesday.

Reid kneeled alongside Kaepernick and also filed a grievance against the league, though he was signed by the Panthers in 2018.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is also sceptical, telling reporters on Thursday: "I really hope it's a serious shot for him to get back in the league. I think he deserves to be in the league.

"For the last three years, he has unjustly not had a job. But based on all of the things that have led us to this point, it leaves me a little sceptical of the motivations behind it. But I think like anybody, we're just all waiting to see."

Both the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots will be hungry to show a positive response to their first defeats of the NFL season in Week 11.

Inspired by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks ended San Francisco’s perfect record with a 27-24 overtime victory at Levi's Stadium on Monday, Jason Myers settling it with a field goal.

The 49ers will look to take their frustration out on the struggling Arizona Cardinals, who have lost three in a row, on Sunday

The Patriots are also 8-1 after going down 37-20 to the Baltimore Ravens at the start of November - they return to action following a bye week with a trip to the Philadelphia Eagles.

We take a look at the Week 11 schedule using Stats Perform data.

 

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Steelers (5-4) at Browns (3-6), 8:20pm

- Pittsburgh have won four in a row despite averaging 299 yards per game. The only other time in the last three years that a team won four straight despite averaging less than 300 total yards was the Bears in November 2018 (291 per game).

- The Browns have not committed a turnover in back-to-back games for the first time since December 2016.

- Mason Rudolph is the ninth player in the Super Bowl era to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of his first seven NFL games – injured team-mate Ben Roethlisberger is also on that list.

 

SUNDAY

Jets (2-7) at Redskins (1-8), 1pm

- The Jets have won their last two games against Washington after losing eight of the first nine clashes between the franchises.

- Washington, coming off a bye week, have failed to score 10 points in any of their last three outings.

- The Jets are averaging 164.0 net passing yards per game this season, the lowest mark in the NFL. Their opponents are only fractionally better at 169.7 yards.

 

Saints (7-2) at Buccaneers (3-6) 1pm 

- The Saints earned a 31-24 home win over the Buccaneers in Week 5 and will attempt to record the first season sweep by any team in the series since New Orleans won both in 2014.

- Tampa Bay will be bidding to score 30 points or more in three consecutive games for the second time in franchise history.

- With his season-high 13 catches in the Saints' Week 10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Thomas surpassed Odell Beckham Jr. (61 games) for the fastest player in NFL history (56 games) to reach 400 career receptions.

 

Broncos (3-6) at Vikings (7-3) 1pm 

- The two franchises have won seven games apiece in their 14 previous meetings, with the last 10 contests decided by a margin of eight points or less.

- Kirk Cousins is three touchdown passes shy of 150 for his career after throwing for 15 in six games since the beginning of October. 

- Denver have not forced a single turnover in six different games this season, already tied for the most zero-takeaway outings in any season in franchise history.

 

Bills (6-3) at Dolphins (2-7) 1pm 

- In their last three meetings, Miami have a +13 point differential in the first half while Buffalo are +44 after the interval.

- Buffalo rushed for a season-low 84 yards in a 19-16 loss in Cleveland last week. Since 2017, the Bills are 1-13 when gaining less than 100 yards on the ground, tied for the worst record in such games over that span.

- Miami had three takeaways in a 16-12 win over the Colts last time out, nearly doubling their season total (four to seven), and 13 points off takeaways nearly tripled their season total (seven to 20).

 

Jaguars (4-5) at Colts (5-4) 1pm

- The Jaguars have posted two shutouts over the previous three seasons – and both came against the Colts.

- Nick Foles, named the starter again on his return from injury, has posted a 10-2 record as a starter in November or later since 2016, the best in the NFL (including postseason - minimum 10 starts).

- Each of Indianapolis' nine games have been decided by seven points or fewer, the second-longest streak to start a season in NFL history (Lions had 11 straight in 2016).

 

Cowboys (5-4) at Lions (3-5-1) 1pm

- Dallas have won three in a row against the Lions (regular and postseason), dating back to their 24-20 win in the 2014 Wild Card game.

- The Cowboys were held to just 50 yards rushing in a 28-24 loss to the Vikings last weekend and did not gain a single first down on a run play for the first time since a defeat to Washington 12 years ago.

- Detroit's 20-13 defeat to the Bears last week saw all three Chicago scores coming on passing touchdowns. That was Detroit's fifth consecutive game allowing multiple passing scores, the longest single-season streak for the Lions since the first six games of the 2016 season.

 

Falcons (2-7) at Panthers (5-4) 1pm

- Atlanta have had the better results in this divisional series in recent years, having won three straight and six of the last seven between the teams. 

- Last week's 26-9 victory at New Orleans was Atlanta's third straight on the road in NFC South play, dating back to last December's win at Carolina.

- Christian McCaffrey will be attempting to become the first player with a rushing touchdown in eight consecutive games in the same season since another Panther, DeAngelo Williams, did so in 2008.

 

Texans (6-3) at Ravens (7-2) 1pm

- The Texans are 0-5 in road games against the Ravens, including their 20-13 loss in the 2011 postseason. 

- Houston are one of two teams that have not lost by more than seven points over the last two seasons, along with the Chiefs.

- The Ravens have rushed for at least 130 yards in 16 straight games, tied for the longest streak in the Super Bowl era with the 1975-76 Steelers.

 

Cardinals (3-6-1) at 49ers (8-1) 4:05pm

- The Cardinals suffered a third successive loss when going down to the Buccaneers last week - their fifth game decided by three points or less this season.

- San Francisco's loss to the Seahawks was their first in which they forced at least four turnovers since 2016 – when the opponents were Arizona.

- The Niners had a season-low 87 rushing yards against the Seahawks, but still rank second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 161.8, behind only Baltimore (197.2).

 

Patriots (8-1) at Eagles (5-4) 4:25pm

- The 37 points conceded by New England in the loss to Baltimore were 20 more than they had had yielded in any other contest this season.

- Over their last eight games, the Eagles have alternated either winning two in a row or losing two in a row. They will be looking for a third victory on the spin this weekend.

- After scoring 41 points in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots two seasons ago, Philadelphia have not scored as many as 35 points in any game since.

 

Bengals (0-9) at Raiders 5-4) 4:25pm

- The Bengals are 4-1 in games played in California since 2010. 

- All five of the Raiders' wins this season have come by one possession (eight points or fewer). The only team in the NFL with more one-possession wins this year is Seattle (seven).

- The Raiders have not turned the ball over in their previous three games, only the second time in franchise history they have gone three straight without a giveaway (also in 1979).

 

Bears (4-5) at Rams (5-4) 8:20pm

- Chicago have won six of the last seven games against the Rams, allowing just 10.7 points per game in the six wins but 42 points in the one loss (21-42 in 2013). 

- The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak with a 20-13 win over the Lions despite putting up just 226 yards of total offense.

- The Rams and Bears have both allowed 18 rushing plays of 10 or more yards, tied for the fewest in the NFL. Offensively, the Bears have just nine rushing plays of 10+ yards, fewest in the NFL, while the Rams have 22.

 

MONDAY

Chiefs (6-4) at Chargers (4-6) 8:15pm

- The Chargers snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Chiefs with a 29-28 road victory in Week 15 of last season. 

- The Chiefs have lost four of their last six after starting the season 4-0, including a 35-32 loss in the final seconds against the Titans last time out. 

- Tyreek Hill caught 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown against the Titans after putting up 140 yards and a score in Week 9 against the Vikings. He is the first player in franchise history with at least 140 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in back-to-back games.

Lamar Jackson enhanced his MVP bid with his second perfect passer rating of the season as the Baltimore Ravens crushed the Cincinnati Bengals 49-13 in Week 10 of the NFL season.

Patrick Mahomes, the reigning MVP, was unable to lead the Kansas City Chiefs past the Tennessee Titans, despite throwing for over 400 yards in his return from a dislocated kneecap.

Elsewhere, the Atlanta Falcons claimed a shock win over the New Orleans Saints in Louisiana, while  the Jets claimed New York bragging rights over the Giants.

 

RAVENS KEEP ROLLING AGAINST WINLESS BENGALS

Baltimore, fresh from handing the New England Patriots their first loss last week, moved to 7-2 with a 49-13 annihilation of the winless Bengals.

Ravens quarterback Jackson once again impressed, completing 15 of 17 passes and tossing three scores, while ripping off a 47-yard touchdown run too.

Ryan Finley was making his NFL debut after the Bengals benched Andy Dalton, but the quarterback managed just 167 yards through the air and saw an interception returned to the house by Marcus Peters.

TITANS SNEAK PAST CHIEFS AS MAHOMES IMPRESSES ON RETURN

The Chiefs had Mahomes back from a two-game absence on Sunday and though he threw for 446 yards, it came in a losing cause as the Titans upset Kansas City in Nashville.

Tyreek Hill had 157 receiving yards and a score as the Chiefs put up 530 yards of offense, but Derrick Henry had 188 yards and two scores on the ground for Tennessee, who went ahead with 23 seconds remaining through Adam Humphries' 23-yard catch.

Kansas City lined up for a field goal that would have forced overtime, yet Harrison Butker's attempt was blocked.

FALCONS STUN SAINTS

The Falcons picked up just their second win of the season, while the Saints suffered only their second loss as Dan Quinn's team claimed a 26-9 triumph on the road, kicker Younghoe Koo making four field goals on his Atlanta debut.

Daniel Jones threw four touchdowns but the Giants lost 34-27 to the Jets in the clash between the two New York teams, while the Cleveland Browns beat the Buffalo Bills 19-16 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed a 30-27 success over the Arizona Cardinals.

Matthew Stafford's streak of 136 successive starts came to an end as the Detroit Lions, for whom Jeff Driskel played at quarterback instead, were beaten 20-13 by the Chicago Bears.

The Indianapolis Colts will be without quarterback Jacoby Brissett against the Miami Dolphins after he was ruled out with a knee injury.

Brissett has been the Colts' starter this year after Andrew Luck's unexpected retirement on the eve of the season, leading the team to second in the AFC South with a 5-3 record.

But Indianapolis will have to cope without Brissett against the lowly Dolphins, who claimed their first win of the campaign against the New York Jets last time out.

The 26-year-old, who has 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions and 1,649 yards passing for the season, injured his knee in last week's defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brissett's absence was confirmed on Saturday, meaning Brian Hoyer is in to start, with reserve quarterback Chad Kelly promoted to the active roster.

While the Colts could not get their quarterback fit in time for Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons could. Matt Ryan will return against the New Orleans Saints.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is set to return against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Ryan missed the Falcons' 27-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on October 27 due to a sprained right ankle.

But he is set for a return against the Saints as the struggling Falcons look to end a six-match losing streak.

"He's ready," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, via ESPN.

"Just mobility. I would say that would be probably the biggest thing where you can, not on design plays out of the pocket, but when you have to improvise and move without having [a] certain number of steps or such."

Tuesday's NFL trade deadline brought little action.

We dive into the details of the deals that did go down as well as several notable roster moves around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Williams reports to Redskins

The Washington Redskins were reportedly open to trading disgruntled offensive tackle Trent Williams ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline, but the team's high asking price left few suitors and he opted to end his holdout instead.

Williams was dissatisfied with how the Redskins' medical staff handled a growth found on his head earlier in the offseason, though he appears to be ready to make amends so he can get back on the football field.

The 31-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021 after he finishes out the final frame of his five-year contract worth $68million.

Rams deal Talib, draft pick to Dolphins

The Los Angeles Rams are sending veteran cornerback Aqib Talib and a draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for a future pick. The Rams will save about $4.2m by moving him.

Talib is the second big-name cornerback to be dealt by the Rams this season after Marcus Peters was sent to the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month.

Talib has been dealing with a rib injury and was recently placed on injured reserve, though he will be eligible to return Week 15. He initially suffered the injury during an October 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Conner likely to be limited by shoulder injury

Star running back James Conner was injured late in Monday's win over the Dolphins and left Heinz Field with his right arm in a sling. The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to announce an update on his status or his availability for Week 9 against the Indianapolis Colts.

"It's in the process of being evaluated right now as we speak, so I don't have a lot of information," head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "One thing's for sure, it's going to limit him, surely at the early portions of the week.

"James has played enough ball, started to get comfortable with him. [It] doesn't require a complete week of work and effort for him to play like it does some younger players. So we'll play it by ear. We'll check his availability on a day-to-day basis and let that be our guide in terms of his availability."

Fellow rusher Benny Snell was also injured Monday and is in jeopardy of missing time with a knee injury.

Two things that don't matter

Bengals bench Dalton amid 0-8 season

The winless Cincinnati Bengals will have a new starting quarterback coming out of their bye week, as first-year coach Zac Taylor has decided to pull veteran Andy Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. Dalton had previously started every Bengals game for which he has been healthy since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011.

The 24-year-old Finley was a fourth-round pick out of NC State in April and completed 73.4 per cent of his passes in three games during the preseason with three touchdowns and an interception. He has yet to see action in the regular season.

Falcons release Bryant... again

The veteran kicker missed two field goals beyond the 50-yard line during Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. The Atlanta Falcons announced they have agreed to terms with Younghoe Koo in a corresponding move.

Matt Bryant previously had a stint with the Falcons from 2009 to 2018 before being released in February, though the team re-signed him in August. The 44-year-old sits 13th on the NFL's all-time scoring list with 1,758 points and was 9 of 14 on field-goal attempts this season.

One video you have to see

DeAndre Hopkins is an early contender for best costume in the league.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Le'Veon Bell kept things light ahead of the NFL trade deadline despite reports suggesting the New York Jets were open to offers for the running back.

The Seahawks have been dealt a huge blow to their offensive line with Justin Britt feared to have a season-ending knee injury.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Monday that the center will undergo surgery to repair an ACL injury suffered during the win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Britt was quickly ruled out after leaving the first half of Sunday's 27-20 win in Atlanta, but he was able to walk to the locker room on his own after being evaluated in the blue tent.

Quarterback Russell Wilson quickly felt Britt's absence. He was sacked in the third quarter which was Atlanta's third sack of the season.

Britt, who was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, has spent all six seasons with the Seahawks.

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