ATLANTA — One down, 11 to go.
The New Orleans Saints turned the primary staff to clinch a playoff spot, successful the NFC South on Thanksgiving night time and serving up some revenge on their rival Atlanta Falcons for good measure.
The Saints (10-2) beat Atlanta 26-18 simply 18 days after their beautiful 26-9 loss within the Superdome to those similar Falcons (3-9).
The New England Patriots (10-1) and San Francisco 49ers (10-1) also can doubtlessly clinch playoff berths this weekend.
As of now, the Saints are simply the 15th staff to clinch a division title in Week 13 or earlier for the reason that league went to eight divisions in 2002, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Data. Solely a type of groups went on to win a Tremendous Bowl — however that staff was the 2009 New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans can have an opportunity to enhance its playoff seeding much more subsequent week with a essential residence date in opposition to the 49ers.
The Saints had been removed from good on Thursday night time, due to their newest barrage of penalties and a few dropped passes by Jared Cook dinner and Michael Thomas (his first since Week 7 of final yr).
However they constructed an early lead due to their swiss-army backup quarterback Taysom Hill, who deflected a punt, caught a 3-yard landing move and ran for a 30-yard rating within the first half. Hill’s 4 TD catches this season are greater than Odell Beckham Jr. and Davante Adams mixed, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Data.
Then the Saints’ protection closed out the sport with a pair of second-half interceptions by rookie defensive deal with Shy Tuttle and rookie security C.J. Gardner-Johnson and a pressured fumble by defensive finish Marcus Davenport.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees had a quiet night time, finishing simply 18 of 30 passes for 184 yards. However his move to Hill did tie him with Tom Brady for second place in NFL historical past with 532 as they race to interrupt Peyton Manning’s file of 539.