On the verge of clinching their division before December, the Atlanta Falcons don't look so dominant when their longest, most intense rival is on the field with them.
The New Orleans Saints have won four straight and 11 of 13 in the series, including a 31-27 home win over Atlanta on Nov. 11. It remains the only loss for the Falcons (10-1), who otherwise have dominated the NFC South race.
The Falcons, four games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay, can clinch the division if they beat the Saints on Thursday night and Denver beats the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Coach Mike Smith obviously hasn't been talking about the division race to his players.
''I didn't know that,'' running back Michael Turner said when asked about the possibility the team could clinch the division. ''You just focus on this week. We know nothing is guaranteed.''
The Saints (5-6) are playing to remain in the NFC wild-card race. New Orleans' resurgence from its 0-4 start was derailed a bit with last week's loss to San F...