The Atlanta Falcons clinched the NFC South with Saturday’s win over the Panthers. Where do they fall in the playoff picture?
The Atlanta Falcons clinched their division with Saturday’s convincing win over the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons have avoided the collapse that they have suffered the last two seasons winning their last three games in convincing fashion and winning their division and moving into the second seed of the NFL Playoffs.
If the Falcons can hold down the 2nd spot in the playoffs they will get a first round bye and home-field advantage allowing them a much easier path to a potential Super Bowl run. The Cowboys have locked down the first seed in the NFC playoffs and will have a first round bye as well.
While the positioning of the Falcons in the playoffs are still dependent on next week’s games there are two things that we do know for sure. One, the Falcons will make the playoffs and win their division regardless of the outcome of next weekend’s matchup against the Saints. Secondly, the Falcons have ensured themselves a home-field advantage for the first game in the playoffs regardless of whether or not they are able to secure a first round bye next week.
Despite what their home and away records may say playing at home in the playoffs will be a big advantage for a dome team. Matt Ryan and the Falcon’s offense has proven that they have a chance against any defense in the league piling up points and keeping themselves in every game they have played this season. The problem for the Falcons will be whether or not they can maintain their level of play against the best teams in the league.
If the playoff picture remains the same through week 17 the Falcons will be set to play the highest winning seed from the wildcard round of the playoffs. As it currently stands the 6th seed (Green Bay Packers) will be taking on the 3rd seed (Detroit Lions) while the 5th seeded New York Giants face off against the recently dethroned 4th seeded Seattle Seahawks. While there are many different scenarios still to play out next week for Atlanta to lock down the 2nd seed in the NFC if things remain the same Atlanta will have a home game against either the Lion if they manage to beat Greenbay or the winner of the Giants Seahawks game.
While none of the above will be easy wins for the Falcons a revenge game against the Seahawks or taking on the mistake prone Giants would be much easier than taking on a Packers team that is playing at a level that is putting Rodgers back into the MVP discussion. However it may play out the Atlanta Falcons are headed for the 2017 playoffs, Houston here we come!