Believe it or not—and I hardly believe it myself—the Falcons can still secure a first round bye and the #2 seed in the NFC this coming weekend. What a crazy weekend this has been.
With Seattle’s last second loss to the Cardinals, Atlanta’s got a real shot at earning the #2 seed, and in fact they’re sitting pretty in that slot as of today. They control their destiny, too, with only a win against the Saints in Week 17 needed to ensure the bye. New Orleans is going to relish the opportunity to play spoiler, but hopefully Atlanta will steamroll them.
Here’s a brief look at the playoff picture with one week left.
NFC playoff picture
- Dallas Cowboys, 12-2
- Atlanta Falcons, 10-5
- Detroit Lions, 9-5
- Seattle Seahawks, 9-5-1
- New York Giants, 10-5
- Green Bay Packers, 9-6
Dallas has sealed up the #1 seed in the NFC. Nothing they do the rest of the way makes a difference for them, though it could impact seeding elsewhere.
Atlanta is on a nice three game winning streak, and as I mentioned, just need a victory to ensure they have a bye week. Gosh, that’d be nice!
Detroit is improbably out in front in the NFC North. If they win against Dallas, they’ll find themselves a game ahead of Green Bay with one game left against...Green Bay. They control their own destiny, and if Atlanta and Seattle bomb in Week 17, they could actually find themselves with a bye.
Seattle is blowing a golden opportunity. They have been the #2 seed for a while now, but they now have two ugly losses (this one was close, at least) and have dropped all the way down to #4. If Detroit and Atlanta can keep winning, that might be as high as they go, and as good as they are they look a little shaky heading into the postseason.
New York can’t go any higher, but I believe they can go lower with another loss and a Green Bay win, due to tiebreakers. Without the #3 and #4 seed settled, they don’t really know whether they want to win or lose.
Green Bay is getting very hot at the right time, and loom as a team no one’s going to want to face because of it. If they were to lose in Week 17 against Detroit, Washington could sneak into the postseason, so they can’t rest on their laurels.
In the hunt
Washington Redskins, 8-6-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-7
Washington has to win and see Green Bay lose next week to make it in, or they’re boned. I’d rather see Washington than Green Bay, so I wholeheartedly support this scenario.
Tampa Bay needs a ridiculous number of things to break their way to get in. With their defense pulling back over the last couple of weeks against quality opponents and the offense continuing to struggle mightily (plus the baffling decision to sit Doug Martin against the Saints), they kind of blew their chance. This is a team that should make plenty of noise a year from now, but there are kinks to work out. I’m just glad the Falcons didn’t lose the NFC South to them.