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Falcons NFC South hopes truly, officially dead

We can let even those dim dreams die.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons lost to the Buccaneers today, which dropped them to a 3-8 record that is not exactly the envy of the rest of the NFL. That loss also officially destroyed their NFC South title hopes, and virtually does the same for their chances of making the playoffs.

For most Falcons fans, that hope was already gone. The Falcons needed to win every game and get a ton of help to win the South or even make the postseason. The chances of that were vanishingly slim before the loss, as the Falcons had just about a 1% chance of making it, but the team playing inspired football for a couple of weeks left that door ajar just enough to for the intoxicating aroma of the postseason to waft in. For some quarters of the fanbase not ready to give up—and believe me, I hear you—that was enough.

With even that slim hope gone, it’s not clear where the Falcons go from here. A win on Thanksgiving would still be quite nice—beating the Saints never goes out of style—but after that they’re still just a team out of the playoffs with a staff unlikely to return and little to play for except pride. With fans barely showing up and clearly checked out on the season, these last few games are unlikely to move the needle no matter what Arthur Blank chooses to do.

After Thursday night’s game, we can just fast forward the season. That’s fine.