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NFL playoff picture: Atlanta remains the #6 seed after Week 12 action

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The NFC South is getting closer, which means the Falcons have a shot at a higher seed, too.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons’ untidy but beautiful 34-20 win over the Buccaneers gave them seven wins, and it ensured they’d hold on to the #6 seed in the NFC.

For the moment, at least, Atlanta’s sitting pretty, though that will only continue as long as they keep winning. The Seahawks are also 7-4 but Atlanta has a tiebreaker over them, while every other team in the NFC is at least a game behind. If you can win (and I’m being greedy, here) four out of your last five games, you’re almost certainly in the postseason, and so Atlanta’s path forward is pretty clear.

At this point, it’s probably safe to pencil the Eagles in for a first round bye, barring an epic collapse of some type. Every other seed could be up for grabs, though the Vikings could do themselves a huge favor by beating Atlanta in Mercedes-Benz Stadium this coming weekend.

Here’s the current conference playoff picture.

NFC Playoff Picture

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 10-1
  2. Minnesota Vikings 9-2
  3. New Orleans Saints 8-3
  4. Los Angeles Rams 8-3
  5. Carolina Panthers 8-3
  6. Atlanta Falcons 7-4

I don’t have to tell you how critical the upcoming stretch of games are, but consider this: If the Falcons win next week, they dent Minnesota’s chances of grabbing home field advantage, and the Falcons could spring up to the #5 seed depending on who wins the Panthers-Saints game on Sunday. They really need this win, but it obviously won’t be an easy one to get.

We can wish and wish that the Falcons had handled even one of their easy games earlier in the year, because they’d be right in the thick of things now. Considering how the first couple months of the season unfolded, though, we’re more than happy to see the Falcons in the playoff picture right now.