NEWS

New Orleans Saints face Atlanta Falcons Monday night in NFC South showdown

Michael Tortorich
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees scrambles away from Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux in week three.

The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will meet again Monday night.

Atlanta (12-2) sits atop the NFC South, while New Orleans (10-4) is pushing for a playoff spot as two regular season games remain. The Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth.

The Saints travel to Atlanta after a 30-24 loss at Baltimore (10-4) Sunday.

The Falcons claimed a 27-24 overtime win over the Saints in week three. The teams previously met on Sept. 26 in the Superdome.

Saints kicker Garrett Hartley missed a potential game-wining 29-yard field goal in overtime.

Atlanta answered as kicker Matt Bryant hit a 46-yard field goal to lift his team to victory.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, an MVP candidate, passed for 228 yards and threw touchdowns to Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.

The Saints can clinch a playoff berth if:

• They win one of their remaining two games.

• The Bucs lose their road game against Seattle.

• The Bucs win out and the Saints fall in their final two games (putting both teams at 10-6), Tampa Bay would get a playoff spot over New Orleans, but both teams could make the playoffs in two scenarios.

Those scenarios would be:

• If the Giants lose their final two games and the Packers fall at home to the Bears. Those outcomes would put the Giants and Packers both at 9-7.

• If the Giants win  their final two games and the Eagles fall in their two contests. That outcome would put the Eagles and Saints tied at 10-6 and the Saints would have a better NFC?record, giving them a playoff berth.

Playoff seeding possibilities include:

• If the Saints win their last two games and the Falcons lose to the Panthers, New Orleans would be the NFC’s top seed.

• If the Saints split their last two games, they will be the fifth seed and face the No. 4 seed, which will be the winner of the NFC West.