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'Thursday Night Football' debuts on NBC with Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

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Wed, Nov 16th 2016 02:35 pm

The only network with two primetime NFL packages, NBC debuts "Thursday Night Football" this week, when Cam Newton and the NFC champion Carolina Panthers host Drew Brees and the division rival New Orleans Saints. Coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with "Football Night in Carolina" on NBC.

The Saints defeated the Panthers 41-38 in Week 6, with rookie Wil Lutz kicking the game-winning 52-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining. Brees passed for 465 yards and four touchdowns, marking his NFL-record 15th career game with more than 400 passing yards. Brees ranks second in the NFL with 2,992 yards passing, and is tied for the top spot in touchdown passes this season (24).

The Panthers look to rebound from a 20-17 loss to the Chiefs in Week 10, where Newton became the first player in NFL history with more than 20,000 pass yards (20,257) and 3,000 rush yards (3,486) in his first six seasons. Panthers TE Greg Olsen leads NFL tight ends with 50 catches and 712 receiving yards, while LB Luke Kuechly is second in the NFC with 88 tackles.

Calling Saints-Panthers are seven-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels (play-by-play) and 16-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, joined by sideline reporter Heather Cox.

Bob Costas, a 27-time Sports Emmy winner, will serve as the host of the "Football Night in Carolina" pregame show from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, and will be joined on-site by Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy and two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison.

Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum recording artist Pentatonix will perform the "TNF" show open. The song celebrates the start of the NFL weekend, with game highlights and player cameos.

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