The Atlanta Falcons' path to the playoffs is now very simple thanks to their blowout loss to the Chicago Bears. With a win last week, the Falcons would be alive in both the division race and in the wildcard race. They would still need help but their path into the wildcard would still be open and is far more probable.
Atlanta's playoff scenario is now simply that they must win and Tampa must lose against the Panthers. Carolina could be named as the least likely team to play spoiler this weekend.
If the Bucs win the Falcons game against New Orleans becomes meaningless when it comes to playoff implications. Tampa controls the NFC South and simply needs to beat the worst team in the league to walk into the playoffs. It seems close to impossible a team could fumble away this chance, however, we did just watch Arthur Smith's team lose to Bryce Young in the final seconds.
While it would be shocking to see Carolina find a way to win a third game it is still possible. If that happens Atlanta could be hosting a playoff game if they beat New Orleans.
The obvious downside of this is that Atlanta is unlikely to make any changes and will simply keep things as they have been for the past three seasons. It is clear that this offense needs a fresh perspective and that the quarterback situation needs to be addressed this off-season.
Arthur Blank appears to still be weighing the decision though it is unclear what this means for Ryan Nielsen or Terry Fontenot. This may entirely depend on the type of head coach the team targets and whether or not they would offer them the chance to build their own staff. No question that this weekend will likely swing Blank's decision based on what happens both for Tampa and in New Orleans.