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What you need to know to watch Falcons vs. Saints on Thursday Night Football

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We don’t get much time this week to digest Falcons - Vikings.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

We will barely get to consider the Falcons’ loss to the Vikings this week before we need to start thinking about the game ahead. It’s a short Hate Week for the Falcons and Saints, with New Orleans riding a red-hot ground game into nine wins on the season and the Falcons trying to stay alive in the playoff hunt after losing their fifth on Sunday.

This is not the way I think most of us envisioned this game lining up before the season, when the Saints bizarrely signed Adrian Peterson, blocking Alvin Kamara from a huge role. Unfortunately, they swapped him away, and the Saints’ offense has been one of the NFL’s most explosive since. With an improved defense, they’ve been genuinely (urp) (blurgh) good.

Atlanta, meanwhile, continues to have trouble executing at the high level they need to in order to beat elite teams. Their season has thus far been a tale of missed opportunities against teams like the Dolphins and Bills—a loss to the Vikings really shouldn’t have had the devastating impact on our psyches that it did—but Atlanta’s talent is still there and they are still in the hunt at the moment.

It’s a short week for both teams and Atlanta is home, so anything could happen in this one. For the Falcons to win, though, they obviously can’t be penalized a half dozen times on offense, or sail throws and drop passes, or utterly fail to contain the New Orleans ground game. The Falcons might be able to afford one more loss and still sneak into the playoffs, but the reality is that it’s going to be very tight, and there is no time like the present to try to seal up a spot.

Here’s what you need to know for the game Thursday night.

Falcons - Saints Week 14 Key Info

When: Thursday, December 7, 8:25 p.m. EST

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Channel: NBC/NFL Network

Streaming: Amazon

SB Nation Opponent Site: Canal Street Chronicles