The Falcons clinched the NFC South title from their collective couch yesterday, when the Broncos beat the Buccaneers.
And amazingly, the 11-1 Falcons could wrap up the top seed in the NFC playoffs next week, with a win and some help.
According to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com, the Falcons could lock up the first seed next week with a win at the Panthers, plus a 49ers loss, and a loss or a tie each from the Packers, Giants and Bears. They can also clinch a first round bye next week with a slightly less restrictive set of occurrences.
The bigger question is whether that’s good for them or not.
All season, the Falcons have known that nothing that happens in the regular season will define them. Cruising down the stretch isn’t the best way to go into the postseason, and having nothing to play for for a month doesn’t force them to stay sharp.