Atlanta Falcons shouldn’t fire anyone, and can Panthers go undefeated?

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Nov 9, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line and Atlanta Falcons offensive line at the line of scrimmage during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4. Falcons/Bucs game could be for a playoff spot

Unlike in previous years, the game between the Falcons and Buccaneers this week has added value. Both teams are currently in the NFC playoff hunt. A Falcons win and a Seahawks loss to the Vikings would put them back in a wild-card spot. The Bucs are just behind at 5-6.

The loser will likely be out of the running. Tampa Bay would fall two games behind Atlanta with defeat, which could be too much to overcome in four weeks. A loss for Atlanta might not mathematically end it, but to make up the ground with two games to play against Carolina would be a big ask.

Realistically, the winner of this game remains in the race for an NFC wild-card berth; the loser will not make it. The Seahawks can’t be expected to make too many mistakes, nor can the Packers. To get in, both teams need to win games consistently through December.

A win for the Buccaneers would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Falcons, should it come into play down the stretch. This game is huge for both teams, and could go a long way to making or missing the playoffs.

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