With their eighth win, the Falcons got more than a reason to be smug after beating the Saints for the third straight time. They kept their playoff hopes alive in a very real and tangible way, and they made their road to the postseason easier.
Where are the Falcons right now? Still not in the top six, but that could change in a hurry after Sunday, with a Seahawks loss potentially elevating the Falcons for the time being. What really matters is what happens going forward.
The Falcons are in the driver’s seat in the playoff hunt because of their numerous tiebreakers. They’ve beaten the Seahawks, Lions, and Cowboys, three teams with realistic postseason hopes, and now just hung an L on the Saints. If they beat the Panthers and Saints again, they have a good shot at holding tiebreakers over both even if they somehow drop one to the Bucs. If they win all three, there literally is no scenario in which they do not make the postseason. It’s rarely that easy, but thanks to that narrow victory, it is for Atlanta.
So the truth is still simple: Win out and you’re in, win two and you have a real shot. Considering how amazing it would be to go 5-1 in the NFC South for the second straight year, you have to root for the former, not that you wouldn’t anyways.