Plenty at Stake When Falcons Travel to New Orleans
Three teams. Two games. One playoff spot.
If you didn’t think the next two weeks of the NFL season were HUGE, think again.
There is nothing like late season playoff drama in the NFL, especially if one team in the NFC could have a losing record and could knock out a team with a better record. But I will go on record as saying the team that wins the NFC South should have nothing to apologize for. Anything can happen in the post season. And the team that wins the NFC South should not have to apologize for hosting a playoff game. Sometimes, things just happen that way.
The matchup this week will either allow the Saints to get closer to the .500 mark or it means Atlanta and New Orleans will remain even and they both will pray to all the football gods that Carolina stumbles this weekend.
Welcome to the shooting match at the NFL corral.
"When it’s all said and done, you’re not going to remember what your seed was (or) what your record was," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said Monday. "It’s that you’re in the second season. That’s our goal every single year and the easiest way, and the clearest path to the second season is to win your division."
Following Monday night's 31-15 victory over the Chicago Bears, the New Orleans Saints moved to 6-8, first place in the NFC South. In second place are the Carolina Panthers (5-8-1), followed by the Falcons (5-9).
Entering Week 16, here are the current scenarios for the three clubs as their division-title hopes are still alive.
The Atlanta Falcons can clinch the NFC South IF:
They win in New Orleans on Sunday and defeat the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome in Week 17.
Should a tie occur between the Falcons and Panthers in Week 17, Carolina would win the division based upon league tiebreaker rules.
The Carolina Panthers can clinch the NFC South IF:
They win their final two games, home against Cleveland in Week 16 and at Atlanta in Week 17, and hope the Saints lose once within the next two weeks.
The New Orleans Saints can clinch the NFC South IF:
They defeat the Falcons on Sunday and win their road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17, or they beat the Falcons, combined with the Carolina Panthers losing one more game, either at home against Cleveland this week or at Atlanta in Week 17 or they lose to the Falcons on Sunday but defeat Tampa Bay in Week 17, combined with a Panthers loss in Week 16 and a Falcons loss in Week 17.