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Falcons Playoff Scenarios: Atlanta Makes Franchise History, But What's Next?

For the first time in club history*, the Atlanta Falcons are going to the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Green Bay Packers are three minutes from beating the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, assuring the Birds of at least a wild card spot.

With two games left, what's still out there to play for?

As it stands, Atlanta's in line to play either the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys on the road in wild card round, pending the winner of the Week 17 matchup between those two teams. But if the Falcons can beat the New Orleans Saints on Monday night and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17 -- along with a Saints loss to the Carolina Panthers -- we would be looking at a home game against the Detroit Lions. It would also mean a road trip to play the 49ers instead of the Packers in the event of an opening-round win.

Oh, and a NFC South championship, which would make the Birds the first team to ever win consecutive crowns in that division.

* That "for the first time ... " thing is the latest in a long line of outsider-wowing signs of life the franchise has shown since Arthur Blank and then Thomas Dimitroff took over. Nobody believes Falcons fans when we tell them how bad it used to be until we drop a note like THIS TEAM HAS NEVER MADE THE PLAYOFFS IN CONSECUTIVE YEARS BEFORE.

You tell them something about the Falcons never having back-to-back winning seasons until 2009 or Michael Turner becoming the team's all-time rushing touchdowns leader after only four years, and you can almost see them taking back things they've said about Falcons fans.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.