Do the Atlanta Falcons still have a path to the playoffs?

Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons
Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

Looking at the Atlanta Falcons' 4-5 record after a 2-0 start is frustrating for fans who were sold on a veteran defense and an offense built around young playmakers. Arthur Smith's offenses have been well covered and are a large part of the reason that this team has gone 2-5 after a great start. Atlanta has been awful in clutch situations and continues to find new ways to lose and disappoint.

This was on full display against the Vikings, losing to a team without their best two players and on their third quarterback cannot be explained. You simply have to understand that it is Arthur Smith and the Falcons who find ways to make wins and losses far more painful than they should be.

Despite all of this, Atlanta is still in a great playoff position and could save Arthur Smith's job and their season with a short run. There is an argument, however, that what is best for the Falcons is to lose to the Cardinals on Sunday and part ways with Arthur Smith. Even Arthur Blank couldn't ignore a loss to the worst team in the league.

Smith is coaching for his job on Sunday and this team is playing for their playoff lives over the next three games. Atlanta plays the Cardinals, Saints, and Jets over the next four weeks. Atlanta's path to the playoffs is simply to win three straight against bad teams and take care of business in the division.

You have games left against Tampa and Carolina, both teams that will play the Falcons close but even Arthur Smith's team should be able to go 2-0 against both units this season. If the Falcons can manage that they find their way to 9 wins on the season needing just one of the remaining games against the Saints, Colts, and Bears to find their way to ten wins on the season and a division crown.

This is in no way predicting that this is the path Atlanta will take. Sunday was a perfect example of Smith's ability to lose to anyone, however, the path remains there and easy for this team to put themselves back atop the NFC South and find their way into the playoffs.

If Atlanta beats the Cardinals they will have a week to get healthy and prepare for what could be the biggest game of the season against the Saints. A win over the Cardinals and Saints in all likelihood puts you back in the division lead and gives you momentum as you go into your next three against struggling teams in the Bucs, Panthers, and Colts.

Despite Arthur's mismanagement and the team's seeming ineptitude in the clutch, this is a team that is in a terrible division with a last-place schedule. Everything is still in front of the Falcons despite their best efforts.