“Playoffs” may have seemed out of reach for Atlanta Falcons at the beginning of the 2021 season, however, the team is now 5-6 after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-16 on Sunday, putting them second in the NFC South heading into Week 13.
If Atlanta keeps it up through December, there could be an NFC wild-card spot with their name on it, and quarterback Matt Ryan is excited about that.
“It’s all you can ask for,” Ryan said after beating the Jags. “If you tell me in the beginning of the year that we’re right in the mix in December, that’s where you want to be. I think our best football is still in front of us. We’re going to get there. But, with six games to go and we’re right in the mix, with December starting next week, sign me up.
“I’m ready for that. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks.”
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Falcons’ Playoff Picture
The Falcons still have six games to go and according to Ryan, that’s “plenty of ball left to play” while they’re still in the hunt.
These upcoming December matchups won’t be easy and it all starts with the reigning Super Bowl champs next Sunday. Tom Brady and company are coming off a 38-31 victory over a 6-5 Indianapolis Colts team. The Bucs are now 8-3 and currently leading the NFC South. While beating the Bucs might seem impossible after losing to them 48-25 earlier this year, it’s clearly doable as the Rams, Saints and even Washington have been able to do it. But don’t get too worried if Atlanta ended up falling 5-7.
There are some easier matchups to follow that one as they take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 13, the Detroit Lions in Week 15 and the Saints again in Week 17.
The Panthers just lost 33-10 to the Dolphins, the Saints just lost 31-6 to the Bills and the Detroit Lions just lost 16-14 to Chicago.
The one team ahead of the Falcons, who came out on top in Week 12, are the (6-5) San Francisco 49ers.
Of course, the Falcons will have to play other tough matches against the 49ers and Bills, but if they can make it to a 9-8 record––their playoff hopes are well alive. And yes, anything is possible after we watched the Jaguars beat the Bills on November 7th.
The NFC Race Is On
Below are the NFC rankings after Week 12:
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)
7. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
8. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
9. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Ranked No. 8 in the NFC, the Falcons currently have a 5% chance at a playoff spot, but crazier things have happened.
The good news is, the Falcons’ offensive weapon in Cordarrelle Patterson is healthy again and if that can continue, then they’re a real threat with teams having trouble trying to stop him. We’re also seeing the Falcons’ defense and offensive line show what they’re capable of now all that Atlanta needs is some consistency.
Keep the faith, folks.