The Atlanta Falcons are blowing out the Carolina Panthers 31-3 and have taken out all their key starters so let’s look ahead to the playoff picture. The Falcons are the No. 1 seed and will be playing every NFC playoff game in the Georgia Dome. The Chicago Bears are locked in as the No. 2 seed and have nothing to play for (except rivalry pride) against the Green Bay Packers. The Philadelphia Eagles were already locked into the No. 3 seed and will be resting their starters against the Dallas Cowboys and their newly-christened head coach, Jason Garrett.
The No. 4 seed is still to be decided between the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks later tonight on Sunday Night Football. The No. 5 seed will be the New Orleans Saints regardless if they win or lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints currently trail the Bucs by 10 in the fourth quarter. The last playoff spot will either be the Packers (if they win), New York Giants (if they win and the Packers lose) or the Bucs (if they hang on and the Packers and Giants both lose).
Best case scenario for the Falcons is for the Packers to win because the Packers have a better shot at beating the Eagles than either the Giants (who’ve lost twice to them already) or the Bucs do. Falcons fans would also be wise to root for the Seahawks to beat the Rams as well. That would force the Saints to travel across the country to play in a stadium that is widely considered the loudest (and toughest) place to play in the NFL. Of the teams potentially in the playoffs, only the Saints and Eagles bother me so this scenario makes it possible the Falcons could avoid them both.