The Falcons have come a long way since their 31-24 week 1 loss to the Bucs, and have set themselves up to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. In simple terms, the Falcons win and they are in. However, considering the numerous amount of tiebreakers, playoff seeding is never easy. With two weeks yet to play, the Falcons could end up in a number of different positions come season’s end.
Best scenario: With the Cowboys’ defeat of the Buccaneers last Sunday, it officially eliminated the possibility of the Falcons claiming the #1 seed in the NFC. The Falcons are still very much in the running for the #2 seed in the NFC, and most importantly a first-round bye. The nail-biter of a game in Seattle that took place in week 5 is now beginning to look even more crucial as the season comes to a close. The Seahawks currently hold a half-game lead over the Falcons, but are just one slip up away from losing that spot. A Seattle loss to either the Cardinals or 49ers, coinciding with two Falcons wins, would result in the Falcons earning that all important first-round bye. Seattle is highly unlikely to fall to the 49ers, so their week 16 mathchup with the Cardinals should be one Falcons fans have their eyes on.
Division winning scenario: Unfortunately, the Falcons do not control their own destiny when it comes to earning a first-round bye. That is not the case when it comes to the division. The Falcons hold a one game lead over the Tampa Bay Bucs and currently hold the tiebreaker. However, that tiebreaker is subject to change because it is not head-to-head. With both teams currently holding divisional records of 3-1 with two more divisional games remaining, two wins by the Buccaneers, coinciding with even one Falcons loss, would result in the Buccaneers actually winning the division. Atlanta wins the division with two wins, a win and a Bucs loss or two Bucs losses.
Wild card scenario: As previously stated, the Bucs are very much still at large for the division crown. If the Falcons were to lose and the Bucs were to win out, Tampa Bay would take the division. Atlanta still would claim a wild card spot with a win. Once again its that simple, a win guarantees the Falcons a wild card spot. Atlanta could actually sneak in with two losses and a Bucs win, but that would take a lot of help from teams like the Packers, Lions, Redskins and Vikings.
Doomsday scenario: As devastating as it might be, The Falcons could still miss the playoffs. The Falcons would have to open the door by losing both games to the Panthers and Saints. That would give teams like the Redskins, Packers and Lions significantly better odds at reaching the playoffs. Two Falcons losses, coinciding with either two Redskins wins or two Packers wins and a Lions win, would eliminate the Falcons completely from playoff contention.