Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Book it, Danno: Your Falcons are going to the playoffs

Dan Quinn reacts with stoic calm as Robert Alford scores the winner. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

With two losses and without Nick Chubb, Georgia won't make the College Football Playoff. At the rate it's going, Georgia Tech mightn't make a bowl. But there's one local team we can be all but assured of seeing play beyond the calendar year.

The Atlanta Falcons are 5-0. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 39 of the 43 teams that started 5-0 since the NFL playoffs expanded in 1990 have qualified for postseason . That's 91 percent. And ESPN S&I notes this: "Our Football Power Index gave the Falcons and Packers each a 97 percent chance to make the playoffs last week" -- meaning when the Falcons were only 4-0.

The Falcons aren't yet a lock to win the NFC South, though they're the clear favorite. Carolina is 4-0 but faces a tougher schedule. The Panthers must play Seattle and Green Bay, and they still must negotiate the entire NFC East, with which the Falcons are done. (And against which they went undefeated.)

We say again: The Falcons won't face another team currently holding a winning record until Nov. 22, when they play Indianapolis here, and they probably will be favored in every game until they play the Panthers in Charlotte on Dec. 13. It's Columbus Day, and what seemed the toughest part of their schedule is already behind then.

Granted, they were favored Sunday against Washington and came very close to losing. But the odds are they're going to win many more than they lose before they're done. Odds are that they're going to have a Round 1 bye come January.

Hot off the press, so to speak: Under Quinn, Falcons have become a real team.

From Sunday's game: The frenetic Falcons: Five-and-oh-my!

Also from Sunday: The Falcons' Devonta Freeman: From second-string to first-rate.

From last week: Roddy White: A good guy who'll see the light.

Further reading: The Falcons' outlook brightens with every week.

From the Dallas game: A dominant second half shows what the Falcons can be.

Still further reading: The Falcons have a real shot at a big season.

Further still: In Dan Quinn, the Falcons have their new voice.

From the Giants game: Don't stop believin': Dan Quinn's men are 2-0.

From the Eagles game: A new year: The Falcons dig deep and hang on.

Even further reading: Step 1 for the Falcons: Reclaim lost credibility.

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.