The Falcons never make it easy on themselves, and yet somehow they’ve greatly simplified their road to the postseason. I like when it works out that way.
Atlanta’s victory over the Buccaneers puts them at nine wins for the season, and one game behind the Panthers and Saints. They have effectively a 1.5 game lead over the Cowboys and Seahawks, who are both 8-6 and do not hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Falcons. That means that a single win will put them into the playoffs as (at minimum) the #6 seed, setting up a potential playoff matchup against the Rams, Saints, or Panthers. Two wins will see them catapult to the top of the NFC South, meaning they could be the #3 or #4 seed. No matter what, the Falcons have a strong chance to make it into the postseason, because a Cowboys and Seahawks loss over these last two weeks would get the job done even if the Falcons drop both of their final two games.
The important thing in this sometimes frustrating, sometimes thrilling season is that Atlanta needs only to win one of their tough two final games to get in. That’s doable, if daunting, and I strongly believe this team can beat either or both of Carolina and New Orleans if they just play at a high level.
We’ll have a fuller playoff picture for the NFC later today, but you know the most important and salient point now. The Falcons just need to win.