Not trying to jinx anybody, but the Falcons can reach the Super Bowl

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, right, hugs players after a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Happy Dan and his merry men. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

The path is much clearer now. They’re NFC South champs, which means they’ll have at least one playoff game at home. If they beat New Orleans on New Year’s Day, they’ll be the NFC’s No. 2 seed, which would mean that at-least-one-playoff-game-at-home will come after a bye. For the Atlanta Falcons, this is the merriest of Christmases.

But this isn’t just about seeding. This is also about playing. With the possible exception of Green Bay, the Falcons are playing better than anyone in the NFC. Seattle showed in its Christmas Eve home loss to Arizona what we’ve suspected for a while: That these aren’t the Seahawks of the past four years, that Earl Thomas is hugely missed, that the best thing they had going for them is CenturyLink Field. If the Falcons win on Jan. 1, they won’t see/hear the 12th Man again this season.

Detroit is 9-5 but has outscored opponents by 16 points over those 14 games. (By way of contrast, the Falcons’ margin of victory over 15 games is 128 points, second-best in the NFL to New England.) The Giants are 10-5 but looked awful against Philadelphia and have outscored opponents by 17 points.

Best-case scenario for the Falcons: They’re the No. 2 seed; Seattle is No. 3 and Green Bay shades Detroit to win the NFC Central and is No. 4. The Seahawks beat No. 6 Detroit in the wild-card round and have to come here. (Seattle has won only two of seven road games.) The Giants upset Green Bay and then pick off Dallas at Jerry World, which would render the last bit of football staged in the doomed Georgia Dome an NFC championship game.

That’s assuming the Falcons keep winning, which isn’t a given. (And they’re only 4-3 at home.) But Christmas Eve could not have worked out better for them. As noted, I’ve gone from doubting this team to believing, and belief comes easier with each passing week. This is a very good team. I think it’s the NFC’s best team. I think it will grace Super Bowl LI. Happy holidays, y’all.

From yesterday in Charlotte: All hail the ascendant Falcons, NFC South champs.

From last Sunday: There could be a trophy in the Falcons’ future.

From last Monday: Fessin’ up: I was wrong about Kyle Shanahan.

Reader Comments 0

65 comments
B_D
B_D

I like the Falcons chances.  However, my concern is the secondary and the red zone woes.  Both have improved as of late but, I don't know if it is enough.  Has Matt even won a playoff game?  If he hasn't, he is due.  As far as the Cowboys, no rookie has won a Super Bowl.  I don't see Dak being the first.  I don't see anyone beating the Patriots in the AFC.  And, I don't see the Falcons beating the Patriots in the SB, if they get there.

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

Who cares if the Falcons win it all or don't win a single game?  This is Bulldog Country.  Blanc can sell the entire franchise to another city for all I care.  There's only 1 team that wears red and black that matters.  GO DAWGS!

Kristin Weber
Kristin Weber

They're doing great and I believe will continue to be now that Phony Tony, who never got us close to the playoffs, is finally gone (for the most part).

Roger Walls
Roger Walls

I'm a Cowboys fan and the Falcons make me nervous. They have the ability to put up a lot of points.

Faye Edwards
Faye Edwards

Not this time . Dallas are winning. We probably can do it another year

John Kay
John Kay

Go Big Blue! My NY Giants all the way!

Brina Doc
Brina Doc

Falcons Rise Up ❤️❤️ATL ❤️

Stacy Sutherland
Stacy Sutherland

There's just one obstacle standing in there way . The Dallas Cowboys

Stanley Hill
Stanley Hill

55 years in the league, 8 coaches, 3 stadiums , 2 owners, 0 rings...Futility at its best.

Anthony Canty
Anthony Canty

Falcons play defense? If not, they're dead on arrival.

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

The Falcons defense is iffy...the secondary is non-existant.  Prescott or Brady would eat the Falcons secondary alive.  After the way New Orleans humiliated Jalen Collins, look for the Falcon's playoff opponent to do the same, as well as against others in secondary.  Besides, the Falcons only play the first half...a good second half team will come back and give birds all they can handle and more.

Renee Jacobs
Renee Jacobs

Another song comes to mind...Dream On...Dream On..Ahhhhhh...lol! Dang it, Football trash talk season is ending soon.

Mike Wright
Mike Wright

be careful, Cowboys. dont write checks....

Renee Jacobs
Renee Jacobs

Umm I've been a Dallas Fan since I was 3 and apparently broke my Dad's heart and yelled YAY Dallas!! After 43 yrs of loyalty, You don't have to remind me about writing checks. But we ain't no suckie Falcons..haha!!

Mike Wright
Mike Wright

Renee Jacobs i cant even fight you on your own turf since you dont live in dallas. what am i gonna do, tel;l you how bad the Rams suck?

Fran Ratliff
Fran Ratliff

Kevin Nuggit Muffley that's what my son say too lol Texas here lol

James Becker
James Becker

yeah right, Dallas has something to say about this

Oscar Rangel
Oscar Rangel

We just cant beat our self first we have to come out strong each play ... i believe this year can make it falcons have alot of talented rookies

Michael Dillinger
Michael Dillinger

I think we can make it all the way if we get favorable matchups. I think our worst matchups would be New England or the Packers. I think that we can beat any of the other teams, but the Cowboys would be an interesting one that I think either team could win. I am biased though.

Derion White
Derion White

Aaaaaaaaaaaand you just killed it for them.... Everybody knows the Falcons will turn back into Pumpkins before midnight, it's usually until just after somebody mentions them in a superbowl.

TideDawg
TideDawg

What happened to this team? I don't know....Dan Quinn, Shannahan/Ryan, Players buying into the system, individual efforts? The Falcons are beginning to look like the Patriots. They'e bringing in players from nowhere with no pedigree for winning....and they are performing like starters. I LIKE IT!!!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

The #2 seed is important, they need to stay focused and beat the 'Aints. Beyond that, yes the offense is top-notch; how far they go will depend on turnovers and defense.

Eric_C
Eric_C

@DawgDadII yes.  The difference between #2 and #3 is especially large this year.  I read some commentary about the tough decision for Quinn on whether or not to rest players vs the Saints - it should be a no-brainer.  Would you rather be guaranteed a home divisional round game, or battle in the first round with the prize being a trip to the most likely destination of Seattle?  Either way, you are looking at playing two games...it just makes no sense to rest any players or pull back. 

GT71
GT71

Truly surprised that MB has discovered that the Falcons could win the SB.  Looking at the teams who've clinched a play-off berth, that's called an amazing deduction by no one except the AJC staff. You got to hand it to the ever-observant Bradley.


TOJacket
TOJacket

Love how a good season will shut up the whiners and complainers that are so prevalent in our fan base.......Matty Ice breaking more NFL records.....RISE the he!! UP folks!!!!!!!!!..."Who Dat watching the Playoffs"?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Well, DUH!

Why do you think they whine and complain in the first place?

Bad seasons, of course. That's why.

So why wouldn't they shut up in the face of a rare good season? Good seasons leave little to whine/complain about, obviously.

Imbecile.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'm proud of the Falcons. I didn't think they could do it. What a difference a couple of players, giving all, can make.

Roll Tide....Go Dawgs!

Ben9494
Ben9494

Convient how the falcons are the best team in the NFC without mentioning the cowboys.