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Game Recap: New Orleans Saints 48, Atlanta Falcons 17 | 2023 NFL Week 18

Saints waiting on results of Bears-Packers, Cardinals-Seahawks games to see if they make the playoffs

The New Orleans Saints did their part. They defeated the Atlanta Falcons 48-17 on Sunday at the Caesars Superdome to finish the regular season 9-8. But with the Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers defeating the Carolina Panthers, the Bucs won the NFC South and the Saints will have to wait to see if the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks lose their 3:25 p.m. games.

If the Packers lose to the Chicago Bears and the Seahawks lose to the Arizona Cardinals the Saints will make the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and play at the winner of the NFC East (either Dallas or Philadelphia). If Packers and/or the Seahawks win the Saints' season is over.

The Saints' game against the Falcons turned on the first possession of the second half as cornerback Alontae Taylor picked off Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder. New Orleans quickly cashed in as quarterback Derek Carr hit receiver Chris Olave in the end zone, with Olave making a spectacular juggling catch for the 26-yard score and a 24-17 lead. New Orleans came right back on the next possession as Carr hit receiver Rashid Shaheed with a 39-yard touchdown pass.

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Saints kicker Blake Grupe then added a 29-yard field goal for a 34-17 lead with less than 10 minutes to play and after defensive end Payton Turner recovered an Atlanta fumble, Carr hit A.T. Perry with a six-yard touchdown pass, his second touchdown of the game.

It was arguably Carr's best game as a Saint as he was 22 of 28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns with a 145.5 rating. Playing without star running back Alvin Kamara, the Saints' running back by committee approach was effective as rookie Kendre Miller had 13 carries for 73 yards, Taysom Hill had six carries for 51 yards and Jamaal Williams added 26 yards on 14 carries as the Saints dominated time of possession. Miller scored the first touchdown of his Saints career, a 3-yard run in the first half.

Safety Tyrann Mathieualmost had a pick-six at the end of the game but was tackled at the 1-yard line after a 74-yard return with 1:13 to play. Williams scored on a 1-yard dive on the next play.

No matter what happens in the 3:25 games Sunday, the Saints ended the regular season on a positive note and a bit of a roll, as they won four of their final five games. The Falcons ended the season 7-10, missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.

Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season.