Five weeks remain in the regular season for the Atlanta Falcons and following Week 13 every team plays. The good news is Atlanta currently faces the third-easiest remaining schedule down the stretch. Minus Kansas City, every other team the Falcons will go against currently posts a losing record. Also, with three of their final five inside the Georgia Dome, Atlanta has an advantage.
Another positive is that while the Atlanta Falcons currently hold the fourth seed in the NFC, their 7-4 record is tied with three seed, Detroit. Also, the Falcons are only a half game removed from the two-seed, currently held by the Seattle Seahawks. If ever there was a time to be a Carolina Panthers fan, it’s this weekend. Should Seattle stumble down the stretch, Atlanta could earn the two-seed and enjoy a first-round bye entering postseason play.
With a combined 22-33 record for the upcoming games against Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Carolina, and New Orleans the Atlanta Falcons could be poised to build a nice run of momentum.
Now, the bad news…
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The down side is while that schedule appears favorable, those same Seattle Seahawks have the league’s easiest remaining schedule over the next five weeks. Seattle’s opponents (Carolina, Green Bay, Los Angeles, Arizona, and San Francisco) have only 18 wins against 36 losses and a tie among them. Though the games against both Green Bay and Arizona could be threatening to the current two-seed, opening the door for Atlanta.
A lot can change over the course of five weeks, but currently the Atlanta Falcons appear poised for a playoff return. After the Week Eight game against Green Bay coach Dan Quinn spoke about his team’s ability to finish football games.
“I think those scars make a difference and as you go through those experiences, they’re tough on you,” Quinn said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “You have to learn from them, and we have. Knowing that when we get in this scenario again, and it’s time to go shut the door, whether it’s offensively or defensively and we had the opportunity to do that. We’ve certainly talked about it a bunch and had the uncomfortable conversations, knowing that the league we play in, most of these games are going to come down to this kind of finish. We relished that chance to be finishers.”
Faced with another opportunity to finish, the 2016 Atlanta Falcons could wind up being the team to finally dethrone Carolina in route to a playoff return for the first time since the 2012 season.