Ideally, the Atlanta Falcons would have seen the Carolina Panthers lose on Sunday, putting the NFC South very much in play with a 9-4 Saints team and 8-5 Panthers team. That didn’t quite happen, unfortunately, but the Falcons got the result they really needed later in the Jaguars-Seahawks game.
Jacksonville held on to beat the Seahawks, dropping the latter team’s season record to 8-5. That puts them on even footing with the Falcons, and because Atlanta has the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their win earlier this season, the Falcons are back into the #6 seed. If they win out, they’ll never relinquish a playoff spot again this season, which is excellent news indeed.
The playoff picture hasn’t changed at all, from our perspective. Atlanta still has to do the heavy lifting of winning against their three NFC South rivals, and any losses the rest of the way will put them at the mercy of teams like the Seahawks and perhaps Cowboys. May they never even make us sweat.