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Here are the Falcons playoff implications for Sunday’s NFC games

Good to know, good to know.

Atlanta Falcons v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

One of the fun and confusing things to do when you are in the playoff picture is examine all the implications of each week. I attempted to do just that this morning, to figure out where the Falcons will be after the dust settles in the NFC.

Obviously, if the Falcons lose and the Seahawks win, Atlanta’s out of the #6 seed for the moment. That’s simple and unsettling, but we won’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it at the moment, because we certainly will dwell on it if it actually happens. Assuming the Falcons win, here are all the ways they can move around in the playoff picture.

  • If the Seahawks and Falcons lose, Atlanta will remain the #6 seed. No other team can nudge their way into the playoffs this week. This seems like a reasonable course, because the Seahawks happen to be playing the Eagles on Sunday.
  • If the Falcons win and the Saints win but the Seahawks lose, the Falcons will remain the #6 seed because they do not have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers at the moment. If the Seahawks win, they’ll have the better conference record than Carolina. Because the Panthers own the divisional tiebreaker over the Falcons, they’ll remain in the playoff picture, but as the #6 seed, with the Seahawks leapfrogging up to #5 for the week. Atlanta will crappily drop out of the picture.
  • If the Falcons win and the Panthers win, Carolina will vault up to the top of the division for the week and could be the #3 or #4 seed, depending on how the Rams fare. The Falcons would, by virtue of a conference tiebreaker over the Saints, become the new #5 seed regardless of what the Seahawks do. If the Seahawks win, they’re the #6 seed for the week. If they lose, the Saints will be at #6.
  • If the Saints and Panthers tie and the Falcons win, things remain more or less as they are the moment. How likely is that, though?

As you can see, the Falcons really are in good shape if they win this football game against the Vikings. The best outcome for seeding purposes is probably a Panthers win, but that’s not the ideal divisional scenario at the moment because Atlanta does not have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Carolina. This is just one week on the march to the playoffs, however, so we’ll settle for an Atlanta win and whatever combination of victories and losses in the NFC the Football Gods want to throw at us.