The Falcons don’t look like a playoff team, but they’ve got a shot

To get to 8-7, the Falcons would have to win three games in succession. Only once have they won twice in a row, and that came with a bye between the games. They haven’t been above .500 this season. They’ve won only one “home” game, that coming at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is in London. In six games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they’ve been outscored by 97 points.

And yet, and yet …

As much as the Falcons might seem like a bad team, they’re more than competitive when they face an opponent of similar modest caliber. They’re 6-3 against sub-.500 teams. They haven’t blown anybody out – their most sizable victory came Sunday, when they beat Carolina 29-21 – but they’ve hung around. Three times they’ve won on field goals at the end.

If ever there was a time to be mediocre, this is it. This is the year of the expanded-by-one schedule and the expanded-by-one postseason. The NFC numbers six winning teams. Seven NFC teams will make the playoffs. The Falcons are among a gaggle of five at 6-7. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints. They’d lose that tiebreaker to the Eagles and Football Team.

The Falcons have two games remaining against winning teams, though neither the 49ers nor the Bills have been as good as advertised. Both games are on the road, where the Falcons are 5-2. Split those two, beat Detroit here and then beat…

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