After 5-0 start, steep climb to playoffs for Falcons


After losing to the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Falcons are going to need a lot of help to make the six-team NFC playoff field even if they win all of their four remaining games.

The Falcons (6-6) are currently the No. 8 seed in the NFC, two games behind the Seahawks (7-5) and tied with the Buccaneers (6-6). In addition, the Bucs now own the tiebreaker against the Falcons by virtue of their sweep of the two-game season series.

“The truth is right now we’re a .500 club and we’re playing like it,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.

That’s actually a generous assessment. The Falcons have lost five straight games and six of seven since a 5-0 start so winning out seems improbable, especially with two games remaining against the Panthers (11-0 before facing the Saints later on Sunday).

According to STATS research, since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger 66 of 72 teams (91.7 percent) that started 5-0 went on to make the playoffs.

“It’s disappointing but we are where we are,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “As I stand here now we can’t change anything that has happened to this point. We have to really focus on what we can do to be better moving forward and that starts this week.”

In addition to trailing the Seahawks by two games, the Falcons have a worst record against NFC opponents (4-5 vs. 6-4). The Falcons and Seahawks don’t play one another so conference record is the first tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same records.

The Seahawks have two games against NFC teams remaining (Rams and Cardinals) while the Falcons have three (two vs. the Panthers and one vs. the Saints).


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