Atlanta Falcons Playoffs Will Start in Week 17

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 26: Tevin Coleman
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 26: Tevin Coleman /

The Atlanta Falcons have backed themselves into a corner and for them the playoffs will begin the final week of the season. After losing miserably to the Saints the Falcons must beat the Panthers to secure a playoff spot.

Getting beat by the Saints is not the end of the Atlanta Falcons season but it certainly made it much harder than it had to be. With one week left the Falcons must win against their rival Carolina Panthers. Or they will almost certainly be sitting at home come playoff time.

The loss against the Saints hurt the Falcons especially considering a win would have locked in their playoff hopes and left them playing for the division Sunday. Instead they will play the Panthers for a playoff spot.

The final seed in the NFC will come down to the Falcons or the Seahawks for the Falcons to claim the last spot they must win or both teams would have to lose. In either case the Falcons would be in by virtue of having the tiebreaker over the Seahawks.

The Falcons are ill equipped to take on a quarterback like Cam Newton and are going to have to play better on offense then the anemic effort that was shown on Sunday against the Saints.

Winning is no longer optional for this team they must win the final game of the season against the Panthers to stay alive and keep their playoff hopes relevant headed into the wildcard round.

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If Matt Ryan and his receivers outside Julio Jones are going to play to their potential now is the time. Because if Ryan cannot figure out how to get the offense going the Falcons may be sitting at home come playoff time.