Winner of Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers takes division lead
Currently, the Atlanta Falcons are in first place in the NFC South, but their matchup on Sunday with the Carolina Panthers will determine whether or not they can hold that claim for at least another week.
Whoever thought prior to the season that the Falcons and Panthers would be playing such a meaningful game on October 30th? Sure, fans of their respective teams might have thought their favorite team would be in the hunt at this point but they likely did not believe their week eight opponent would also be.
Anyways, this will be a huge game for the Falcons at home on Sunday as it will determine whether they will still have firm control of the division or if they will surrender the control.
The winner of the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers game will sit at the top of the NFC South
Yes, you read that right, either the Atlanta Falcons or the Carolina Panthers will be in first place come Sunday evening, with neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nor New Orleans Saints having a chance to be at the top.
Let’s go over each scenario and see what the division rankings would look like in each possible outcome.
First, it is worth mentioning that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell at home to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, meaning they have one extra loss than the Falcons, which puts the Falcons in first place for now as they have a better winning percentage.
These are the current standings in the NFC South:
- Falcons 3-4 (.429)
- Buccaneers 3-5 (.375)
- Panthers 2-5 (.286)
- Saints 2-5 (.286)
Now if the Atlanta Falcons win on Sunday, quite obviously, they would stay in first place with the Buccaneers in second place, and if the Saints win at home against the Raiders, they would be in third place, if they lose then they would be in last place.
If the Falcons lose to the Panthers then the Panthers would be in first place, this is because the Panthers would have three wins on the season, all three coming against each one of their division rivals — the Saints who they beat in week two, the Bucs who they beat just last Sunday, and obviously the Falcons if they win.
So, the Panthers would be at the top, the Buccaneers would stay at second since they hold the tie-breaker over the Saints and Falcons, and then the Falcons would be in third if the Saints lost or in fourth if the Saints won.
It is pretty crazy when you consider all the scenarios. The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers could be in first, third, or fourth come Monday, the New Orleans Saints could be in third or fourth, and no matter what happens the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be in second.
Just in case you are confused, I will show the possible standings based on each outcome to make it easier to digest.
If the Falcons beat the Panthers and the Saints beat the Raiders:
- Falcons 4-4
- Buccaneers 3-5 (tiebreaker over NO)
- Saints 3-5
- Panthers 2-6
If the Falcons beat the Panthers and the Saints lose to the Raiders:
- Falcons 4-4
- Buccaneers 3-5
- Panthers 2-6 (tiebreaker over NO)
- Saints 2-6
If the Falcons lose to the Panthers and the Saints beat the Raiders:
- Panthers 3-5 (tiebreaker over TB, NO, ATL)
- Buccaneers 3-5 (tiebreaker over NO, ATL)
- Saints 3-5 (tiebreaker over ATL)
- Falcons 3-5
If the Falcons lose to the Panthers and the Saints lose to the Raiders:
- Panthers 3-5 (tiebreaker over TB, ATL)
- Buccaneers 3-5 (tiebreaker over ATL)
- Falcons 3-5
- Saints 2-6
Okay, if you do not understand it yet then I give up.
Needless to say, the Atlanta Falcons could be all over the map depending on what happens on Sunday, but the good news is that they basically control their own destiny, if they win then they will be at least a game up on all of their rivals, that is the outcome we want.
It is shaping up to be a pretty big game between two teams that many outsiders believed wouldn’t play a single meaningful game in October, November, or December.