After the loss to the Cowboys, no doubt many of you wondered what the chances were of the Falcons joining the prom. To further the prom analogy, the Falcons are the kid with a full set of acne scars, a peg leg, a frosted mullet, and his mom's Buick Skylark. He's got a chance, but nobody's holding their breath.
But chances are you're looking for an analysis based in "facts" and "logic", and so today I'm going to attempt to oblige you. The Falcons can't win the division at this point thanks to some terrible games against the Saints. The Saints have the tiebreaker, and the best the Falcons could finish would be 9-7, which would be the absolute worst the Saints could finish. Point, New Orleans.
Assuming the Falcons do run the table, they're in a good position to snatch the last wildcard spot. If the Eagle lose their next two games or the Giants either of their next two, the Falcons will definitely come marching out with a wildcard spot. If the Falcons finish 8-8...the Eagles will probably come up with one and the Giants can come up with the other by virtue of tiebreaker over the Falcons, whom they beat earlier this season. Needless to say, 8-8 looks a lot less rosy than 9-7 in the cramped world of the NFC. At 8-8, in fact, the Falcons could be stuck in with the 49ers and Packers...not an appetizing thought, and one that surely means the coaching staff is packing their bags. So 9-7 would be ideal.
To accomplish that, the Falcons need to get past a rapidly fading Panthers team and a streaking Eagles team. Take a lucky guess which one concerns me more. The Panthers will have a very tough time with Vick and Co. with a banged up front seven and Chris "I'm 1-17 as a Starter!" Weinke playing QB. The Eagles are firing on all cylinders, thanks in large part to Jeff "Everyone Thought I Sucked!" Garcia, who surprised the hell out of me. The Falcons' season could very well come down to the last game, and that's an exciting and terrifying thought.
I honestly think they've got a real good shot at it, but they'll need a little help and two quality games to cap off the season. If they can't get it done, expect to see some big changes coming in the offseason.