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The Falcons need either a win or a combination of Seahawks-Cowboys losses to make the playoffs

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Here’s your quick playoff picture, post-Week 16.

Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

If we’re being blunt, the Falcons were outplayed by the Saints Sunday. The referees being a mess does not in any way invalidate that result, and Atlanta now has only a couple of clear paths to the playoffs.

  1. Win! Beat the Panthers in Week 17 and you’re in as the #6 seed in the NFC.
  2. Lose, and rely on whoever wins from Cowboys-Seahawks this week losing next week

It’s really that simple. The Falcons can either get the victory against a quality Carolina team without a lot to play for, or they can hope the Cowboys and Seahawks alternate losses over the next two weeks. Given that they play one another this afternoon, that seems like a stretch, but it’s not impossible.

We’ll see what the outcome of this next game is, but it’s obvious that the Falcons can’t rely on anyone else to get them into the postseason. It is on this team to play up to their self-proclaimed standards and their talent level, and to win and get in. From there, everything’s up in the air, and nothing is decided, which is exactly what the Falcons should want.