Falcons Playoff Picture: So Uh, Yeah, Wildcard It Is

We've been a bit prickly about conceding the NFC South Division race to New Orleans with still a quarter of the season left to be played and the Falcons only one game back with a rematch with the Saints waiting on December 26, but Sunday's loss to Houston combined with New Orleans' easy win over the LIons all but ended any realistic talk of the Falcons defending their division ttile.

For Atlanta to win the NFC South now, they'd need to win out (at Carolina, vs. Jacksonville, at New Orleans, vs. Tampa Bay) and have the Saints drop at least two (at Tennessee, at Minnesota, vs. Atlanta, vs. Carolina) before potential tiebreakers (dependent on division record, so it would really help if the Panthers won that last game). Barring a major (Drew Brees) injury, that seems unlikely for the surging Saints.

Here's the bright side: As bad as the loss at Houston looked, it only showed up in the division race. The Saints actually helped preserve Atlanta's spot as the current No. 6 seed in the NFC by thumping the LIons, who share the same 7-5 record as Atlanta but lose the tiebreaker because of the Falcons' win at Detroit October 23. 

Falcons fans should now start pondering what first round road game best fits Atlanta. As it was last week, Atlanta is scheduled to open up at New Orleans. The only other likely options would be at Dallas, the Giants (if New York can overtake the Cowboys and win the NFC East) or if the Saints can catch the 49ers and take the No. 2 seed, at San Francisco. 

What's the lesser of evils? Certainly not New Orleans. Maybe Dallas? None of these options are appealing, but that's life as a wild card.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Atlanta

You must be a member of SB Nation Atlanta to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Atlanta. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.