Thanks to the incompetence of the NFC South the Atlanta Falcons playoff hopes are technically still alive. The path for the Falcons is simple at this point. With the team losing to Chicago, they are eliminated from the wildcard race.
Atlanta's only path into the playoffs is Tampa Bay losing to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and beating the New Orleans Saints. Beating the Saints is a long shot itself but relying on the Panthers shows just how slim Atlanta's playoff chances truly are.
The Panthers only have two wins on the season and have looked lost since beating the Atlanta Falcons. It would truly be a shocking upset to make Atlanta hosting a playoff game possible.
There is an argument to be made that what is best for the Falcons is losing to the Saints and watching the Bucs win to lock up the division. Atlanta had leads over both the Panthers and Bucs and if they were able to hold on would be in control of the division.
It is the new normal under Arthur Smith the Falcons are so close and yet never able to finish. The team does just enough to stay in the wildcard or division race but never wins the games that they must to put themselves in the playoffs.
Arthur Smith and the coaching staff must be held accountable whether or not the Falcons manage to luck into a playoff spot. Blank must see after Sunday's game against Chicago just how far this unit is from being consistent and capable of allowing fans to buy in.
The Atlanta Falcons fanbase deserves better from a franchise that hasn't had a winning season in over half a decade. It is 2024 and the best memories Falcons fans have in recent memory go back to Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Everything since has been a continual disappointment and right now there is no reason to believe that will change.