This is the NFL's "Playoff Picture," set up by the league's official site with fancy logos and whatsuch to inform fans exactly what the NFC and AFC brackets would look like if the season ended today. And ZOMG, there's the Falcons and Saints, set to square off in the wild card round.... in New Orleans. Yikes for Atlanta, huh? Good thing there's five games left in the season and anything can happen, right? WRONG, EVERYONE PANIC AND HERE'S WHY:
The Falcons are slotted as the last team in, the second wildcard along with Chicago, who beat Atlanta like a drum on opening weekend. The Bears and Falcons have the same record currently, but Chicago would win a tiebreaker because of the head-to-head win.
Hey, isn't Jay Cutler out for the year? Yeah, but lucky for the Bears, they've been playing football without a quarterback for 70 years. Also, their remaining schedule is a cakewalk, minus a likely loss to the Packers. Observe: vs. Chiefs (4-7), at Broncos (6-5), vs. Seahawks (5-7), at Packers (11-0), at Vikings (2-9).
Say the 7-4 Bears drop two games to the Packers and Jebow (Tesus? No? Never mind then.) and finish 10-6. Atlanta would have finish 4-1 to overtake Chicago and move to the No. 5 overall seed, which right now would open play at Dallas.
About that hypothetical 4-1 for the Falcons - logic says the one loss would come at New Orleans, a place few teams win at consistently, let along division rivals. The Saints are by far the toughest team left on Atlanta's schedule (Remaining games: at Texans (8-3), at Panthers (3-8), vs. Jaguars (3-8), at Saints (8-3), vs. Buccaneers (4-7)).
But say Atlanta beats the Saints and runs the damn table! Best case scenario! Not really: The Falcons would finish 12-4 with the Saints, but would lose the tiebreaker on common opponents. And it's unlikely Atlanta will win out completely, meaning they're bound for a wild card, and likely headed to New Orleans in the opening round.
What's this mean? Should we cheer FOR the Saints, who could move up to the No. 3 overall seed and host Chicago? That's your own business, sicko. We can say this - these teams meeting in the wild card round in New Orleans would be a sequel 21 years in the making. It happened in 1991, and it was awesome, because the Falcons won. We have proof - here's the second half of the game with no audio. So yeah, Atlanta's already won in New Orleans in the playoffs. so why are you guys so worried? Seriously, calm down.
For more bizarrely construed playoff scenarios and unnecessary panic about the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.