Falcons get help from Cowboys victory over Saints in Wild Card race

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The Falcons are going into the weekend one game out of the final playoff spot, which is a bit surprising with one of the league’s worst point differentials. This Sunday, Atlanta won’t have many advantages over the division-leading and Super Bowl favorite Buccaneers, but they’re certainly the healthier team. Tampa Bay could be without their top two choices at left guard and both starting safeties, while the Falcons return Kendall Sheffield and Deion Jones. It is a longshot for them to pull off an upset; however, the Falcons got some help from the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, who beat the Saints. Below is the NFC playoff outlook.


1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

4. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

7. Washington Football Team (5-6)

In the NFC hunt

Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Carolina Panthers (5-7)
New Orleans Saints (5-7)


The Cowboys victory over the Saints dropped New Orleans to the bottom of the teams in the hunt. The Falcons beat their division rival earlier in the season, so they hold the tie-breaker at this point, but Atlanta will face Sean Payton and the Saints once more, which could have playoff implications. The Washington Football Team plays the Raiders this Sunday but will finish the season with a five-game stretch against NFC East opponents — two games against the Cowboys, two versus the Eagles, and one with the Giants. The Vikings will be without Dalvin Cook but draw the Lions this week, finishing against the Bears twice and each of the Steelers, Packers, and Rams — not the easiest remaining schedule. So even if the Falcons fall to the Buccaneers this week, they’ll have a shot at taking that 7th seed.




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