The Atlanta Falcons are 5-9 and a pitiful 1-for-10 against teams outside the NFC South this season.
But they have won 100 percent of their divisional games, and even after 15 mediocre weeks, I still can’t give up on this team because all they have left this season are NFC South contests.
This team absolutely has its faults. They don’t tackle or play any semblance of good defense, really. The offensive line is a mess, and it’s hard to get anything going in the running game for a full 60 minutes.
But they also have a really good chance to make the playoffs. There isn’t a Falcons fan out there that will tell you there’s any possibility of a Super Bowl run, but it sure would be fun to hang a banner and get an extra game or two before a long offseason.
It’s been two months since I first wrote that the Falcons need to be blown up, starting with the firing of some front-office personnel and, probably, head coach Mike Smith as well. Since that article, the Falcons haven’t won much, but they’re still in the playoff picture.
All they have to do is beat two NFC South opponents – the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers – that they’ve already beaten once this season, and they’re in. Even at 5-9, the Falcons still control their postseason destiny.
And they’ll have my attention until they’re eliminated.
At this writing, there’s a very good chance the Falcons would host the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs, since Arizona is fading fast and the Falcons would have one home game in the postseason, if they make it. So far, Arizona is the only team the Falcons have beaten outside the division this season. It would be an exact reversal of the 2008 postseason, when the Falcons had to travel to Arizona to play a Cardinals team (9-7) with fewer wins than Atlanta (11-5). The Cardinals won.
At the very least, the chance to get a little revenge and give the Cardinals a similarly unfair playoff loss would be sweet, sweet redemption for Falcons fans.
People continue to tell me that the Falcons should be ashamed of a playoff berth if they finish the year with a losing record. While I won’t disagree that the Falcons are not a very good team, I’m all-in until they lose enough games to be knocked out.
And if they can get a few players back from injuries – Julio Jones, William Moore and Robert Alford, in particular – the next month could be a lot more fun for Falcons fans than the last 15 weeks.