Atlanta Falcons still contending in awful NFC South
It looked as if the Atlanta Falcons were finally going to see the division put out of their reach after the New Orleans Saints beat them 21-18 on Sunday. Tampa Bay jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the Bengals and with a win would have made the division essentially impossible to win. With the Panthers and Falcons already losing a win from Tampa would give them a two-game cushion with only three games left on the season.
With two of those games looking to be easier wins for Tampa, it would be shocking to see anyone overcome that deficit. However, Tampa collapsed in the second half turning the football over and struggling on offense keeping the entire NFC South alive for a playoff spot none of the four teams deserve.
The fact the Falcons, Panthers, and Saints are all still in the division race speaks to how far this Tampa team has fallen despite having arguably more combined veteran talent than the rest of their division.
The Falcons are sitting at 5-9 on the season and set to take on a Baltimore team that will likely be without their MVP quarterback. It is yet another chance for the Falcons to steal a win and put pressure on Tampa.
Atlanta’s issue moving forward if they do find a way to win will be the fact that New Orleans owns the season series against them. Meaning Atlanta will need help both from the teams facing the Saints and Tampa for their remaining division hopes.
At this point in the season, it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see any one of these teams win the division considering how the season has gone. Atlanta finishes the year out with the Ravens, Cardinals, and Bucs in what could be a division-deciding game.
Tampa finishes the season with the Cardinals, Panthers, and Falcons giving them their best chance to find a bit of momentum heading into the playoffs. There isn’t any question that it is still Tampa’s division to lose, however, their continued ineptitude in close games has kept Atlanta in the division race and leaves a very real possibility we see Sam Darnold, Andy Dalton, or Desmond Ridder quarterbacking a playoff game.