NFC South programming notes

TAMPA, Fla. -- It’s going to be a busy few days in the NFC South with a full slate of Week 12 games and two division teams kicking off Week 13 on Thursday night.

But before we get to Falcons-Saints: The Rematch, and before Roddy White starts tweeting and Curtis Lofton starts talking about his former team, we’ve got a couple of very important games this weekend. Let’s run through what’s ahead in the coming days.

On Sunday, the Buccaneers will host the Falcons in a game with plenty of playoff implications. The 9-1 Falcons are trying to get back on solid ground after losing to the Saints and barely winning against the Cardinals. The 6-4 Bucs are on a four-game winning streak, and a win against the team with the best record in the NFC could show the world that the Bucs are for real.

I’ll be at Raymond James Stadium to cover the Falcons and Bucs. Join us Sunday morning for updates on whether injured Atlanta receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, and Tampa Bay cornerback Eric Wright will be playing.

Once the game between the Falcons and Bucs ends, I’ll turn my attention to the late afternoon game between San Francisco and New Orleans. That is a rematch of last season’s playoff meeting won in the final seconds by the 49ers. This game is crucial for the Saints, who have climbed back to 5-5 after starting the season with four straight losses. If the Saints win this one, it will be time to start looking at them as a legitimate playoff contender.

On Monday night, there will be the epic tilt between Carolina and Philadelphia. Need we say any more about this classic matchup? Probably not. But this will be a Countdown Live game, so please join us for the in-game chat.

I’m sure Tuesday and Wednesday largely will be filled with preview stuff on the Saints and Falcons, and that game could become even bigger if both teams win Sunday. I’ll make my way up to Atlanta on Wednesday night and will be at the Georgia Dome on Thursday night.