Atlanta Falcons must not sleep on Colts, and need someone to step up on offense

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Nov 1, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (90, right) celebrate after the Atlanta Falcons failed to convert a 4th down play in overtime at the Georgia Dome. Also shown on the play are Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Ryan Schraeder (73) and center James Stone (62). The Buccaneers won 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

5. Saints and Buccaneers carry slip-up potential

Everything around the league is beginning to take shape, and that is particularly true in the NFC South. The Panthers are running away at the top and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they don’t claim a third consecutive NFC South crown.

The Falcons sit comfortably in second with six wins, and behind is the Buccaneers and Saints with four each. Despite only being two games behind the wild-card spots, it’s hard to see either having the consistency to keep up with Atlanta.

The Saints have been inconsistent all season. A three-game losing streak to kickoff the season quickly became a three-game winning streak, but they have now lost their previous two. The Buccaneers pulled off a shock victory in the Georgia Dome and edged past the Tony Romo-less Cowboys last week. It’s hard to see them keeping pace.

But what both teams threaten is to slip up other playoff contenders, the Falcons included. Tampa Bay hosts Atlanta and Chicago and travels to play St. Louis and Carolina. A win over any of those teams could affect the playoff race. New Orleans still has to play Atlanta and Carolina.

The Falcons have lost to both already this season and must avoid being swept by either team. The difference between winning and losing these games could determine their fate.