If you were wondering about the good feeling of Atlanta’s progress during the 2014 season, you’re not imagining things. The Falcons are still behind the sticks with a (5-8) record, but they have put themselves in great position to win the division. Atlanta has won three of their last six games, and they were in contention during the losses, unlike earlier in the season.
There are quite a few ways to look at things if you are in the Falcons’ corner. On one hand, the Falcons first five losses came by 73 combined points. They were all by double figures, and many times the Falcons dipped to turn a close game into a double digit loss. Therefore, on the surface, it looks like Atlanta wasn’t competitive. However, the Falcons have been in most games this season. Their main problem was learning how to finish.
It all came to a head when Atlanta gave away a 21 point halftime lead to lose against Detroit on a game winning field goal. It was their fifth loss in a row, and it may be one of the giveaways that causes Atlanta to miss the postseason, but it also proved that the Falcons can play with the top of the NFC. Including the Detroit loss, Atlanta’s final three losses have come by nine total points.
Since then, they’ve beaten the Buccaneers, Panthers, and even earned a win against the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals. It was Atlanta’s first win over a team from outside the NFC South. Despite another last second loss to Cleveland, the Monday night loss to Green Bay sprinkled in, Atlanta must feel good about their playoff prospects.
The Falcons have three weeks to earn that home playoff bid. It starts with Sunday’s battle against Pittsburgh. As amazing as it seems, the Falcons still aren’t in a must win situation. They close out the season with their main playoff competitors. After Pittsburgh, the Falcons visit New Orleans then host Carolina in the season finale. If they win those final two games, Atlanta will be your NFC South division champs.