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Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, who now wears number nine, scores against the Maple Leafs in his rookie year. Now in 2018, the Sabres face the Leafs.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, who now wears number nine, scores against the Maple Leafs in his rookie year. Now in 2018, the Sabres face the Leafs.

Eric Fishbin, National Sports Editor

NFL: Thursday Night Football

New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys

After taking a co-lead of the volatile NFC East division following a Thanksgiving Day victory over the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys will host a second consecutive Thursday home game, which is somewhat out of the ordinary. This time, however, it will be against mighty quarterback Drew Brees and the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints on November 29 at 8:20 p.m.

The 10-1 Saints, who also played on Thanksgiving day, will look to create separation in the standings between themselves and the 10-1 Los Angeles Rams as the race for the top spot in the NFC heats up. The top spot earns home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, so each win is crucial going forward.

Meanwhile, the 5-6 Cowboys will aim to distance themselves from the rest in the tumultuous NFC East, where it seems the first team to eight wins will claim the division.

This week guarantees only one of the Cowboys’ division rivals will record a win, since the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins will square off on Monday Night Football on December 3.

In Week 14, the Saints will travel to Tampa Bay for a divisional showdown with the Buccaneers on December 9.

The Cowboys will host their third consecutive home game against division rival Eagles on December 9, in a game which may end up determining the winner of the NFC East.

NHL: Atlantic Division Showdown

Buffalo Sabres @ Tampa Bay Lightning

An unforeseen battle for the top spot in the Atlantic Division will be played on November 29, as the Buffalo Sabres visit the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m.

The Sabres have turned heads a little over a quarter of the way through the NHL season. The team caught fire in November, winning nine of 11 games, featuring a nine game win streak stretching from November 8 to November 24. Thirty two-year-old, six-year veteran goaltender Carter Hutton has stepped up and established himself as the clear number one net minder for the first time in his career, tallying 11 wins this season already. Center Jack Eichel, playing between left winger Jeff Skinner and right winger Jason Pominville, has been Buffalo’s top point producer with five goals, 23 assists and 28 points through 24 games. Skinner has been the primary benefactor of Eichel’s helpers, netting a league-leading 17 goals.

Though Buffalo has surprised the Atlantic Division, and the NHL, the Lightning remain atop the division with 35 points through 24 games. Propelled by their offensive potency and top-five ranking power play, the Lightning strike for 3.74 goals per game, the second most of any team. 

The Lightning will face a challenging month of hockey, though, as the team announced star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy fractured his foot on November 16 and will miss four to six weeks of the season. With Vasilevskiy down, the Bolts will turn the goaltending duties primarily over to Louis Domingue, with Edward Pasquale serving as the backup.

NBA: East and West Clash

Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors

The Golden State Warriors, the perennial Western Conference powerhouse, head north to face the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors in a Thursday night, TNT-broadcasted showdown at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on November 29 at 8 p.m.

The Raptors turned heads early in the year after jumping out to an impressive 6-0 start. They were briefly interrupted by a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on October 29, but then followed it by rattling off another six-game win streak, propelling the team to 12-1.

Now at 17-4, the Raptors will end the month of November against the defending NBA Champion Warriors, who have struggled, by their standards, in the first two months of the season.

Golden State began the campaign 14-7, their worst start through 22 games since 2013, where they went 12-10 to begin the season. Much of their early season woes are due to guard Stephen Curry’s absence, who missed nine straight games between November 8 and November 24 because of a groin injury. Without Curry, the Dubs went 4-5.

Contact Eric Fishbin at [email protected]