Coming off a beating of the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons finally seem to have woken up after outscoring their two biggest division rivals 55-12 over the past two weeks. Atlanta has not allowed a TD in the past ten quarters, and over those ten quarters, they have 13 sacks. The defense is flying to the ball, the defensive front is getting home, and last week, they started to create turnovers. Over the first nine weeks, this team looked like it could field the worst defense of all time, but now, there’s an outside shot at the playoffs, albeit a .01% chance. Keep in mind, Atlanta statistically has to win every single remaining game to have a prayer. Here’s how it would have to go for them to get to the postseason.
First, let’s look at the Falcons last six games:
@ San Francisco
@ Tampa Bay
These are all winnable games pending the Falcons play like they have the past two weeks. Even against San Francisco, I think Atlanta can rattle Jimmy G. We’ve already kicked New Orleans like a helpless dog once. Running the table is no easy task, but the Packers did it a few years ago, and with the way this defense is playing, anything feels possible.
Winning the NFC South
Boy, as much as I would love this one, don’t count on it. With New Orleans sitting at 8-2 and six games to go, they would have to lose their remaining six games OR lose five as long as one of those is to the Falcons. Here’s how their schedule stacks up:
Not exactly murderer’s row but there’s a couple of potential Ls in there. Carolina twice and Indianapolis doesn’t do the Falcons any favors. So if New Orleans loses out and Atlanta finishes 9-7, the Falcons would take back the division crown. If the Saints lose every game except one, and the Falcons finish 8-8 with a win over New Orleans on Thanksgiving – Atlanta would own the tiebreaker and win the South. Don’t expect this one to play out; it would be a catastrophic meltdown… We all know the Saints are saving that for the playoffs.
Snagging a Wild Card Spot
It really sucks that Minnesota *somehow* came back down 20 points in the 4th quarter last Sunday, but they did, and now sit at 8-3. The Packers are 8-2, but I think they’ll end up winning the North, so we’ll focus on the Vikings. The Seahawks also sit at 8-2, which makes this extra difficult, as I’m sure you have noticed, both of these teams hold tiebreakers over the Falcons. So guess what that means? One of Minnesota or Seattle has to lose every single game the rest of the way, and Atlanta has to win every one. As you can see, it’s not possible for both because of course these teams play each other.
@ Los Angeles Chargers
@ Los Angeles Rams
It’s just a case of too little, too late for Atlanta. If Dan Quinn had made these changes after the Colts game, maybe this team is at 5-5 or 6-4 right now with a legit shot. However, as you can see, the road to the playoffs is close to impossible at this point in the season.