Atlanta Falcons Playoff Scenarios: Can Matt Ryan Lead Team To No. 2 Seed In 2017 NFL Playoffs?

Atlanta Falcons playoff scenarios now come down to Week 17 of the NFL season. The Falcons could still clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC and with it a first-round bye in the playoffs. That would be huge for the team, giving them a week off to rest during the postseason. The Week 17 NFL schedule holds many important games, with the NFC taking center stage with most of the late games.

The Falcons play the New Orleans Saints at 4:25 p.m. ET on January 1. If the Falcons can win this game, the team will clinch the NFC No. 2 seed. That victory would then give the Falcons a week off before hosting a playoff game in Atlanta the following the weekend. The playoff brackets would have Atlanta playing the best team left standing from Wild Card Weekend.

When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons playoff scenarios, it gets no easier than simply closing out the regular season with a victory. The Falcons control their own destiny, which is a position that every NFL franchise would enjoy having in Week 17. It basically means that as long as the Falcons win their game, nothing else on the NFL schedule affects their seeding. A loss to the Saints would create a different situation.

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As the updated NFL standings show, the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions could still catch up in the playoff standings. This could create a situation where the Falcons would drop to either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed by losing to the Saints on Sunday. There are different scenarios for how each matchup could play out.

At the same time that the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints game is being played, the Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks are on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. The winner of the Lions vs. Packers game will clinch the NFC North, while the Seahawks have already clinched the NFC West. Everything else comes down to seeding in the final weekend.

If the Falcons lose, the Packers win and the Seahawks win, then the seeding would shift a bit. That scenario would have Seattle at No. 2, Atlanta at No. 3, and Green Bay at No. 4. It would appear a bit different if the Falcons lose, the Lions win, and the Seahawks also win. In that situation, Seattle would be No. 2, Detroit would be No. 3, and Atlanta would fall all the way to the No. 4 seed.

There are a few other Atlanta Falcons playoff scenarios that could also take place. If the Falcons lose, but so do the Seahawks and Lions, then the Falcons would retain that No. 2 seed. This is all due to the tiebreakers between the four teams battling for those three spots, creating a tough maze of possible outcomes for fans to dig through.

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At the end of the day, the simplest route for the Falcons is to just beat the New Orleans Saints and secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Then it will be easier to watch the other games to see who the potential second-round matchup might be for the Falcons. By clinching the top seed, the Dallas Cowboys would get to play the worst team advancing from Wild Card Weekend, with the Falcons hosting the best team that advances.

Game time for the Falcons vs. Saints matchup is 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday (Jan. 1). The game will be on FOX, with fans knowing just how important a victory is for the team. The first matchup between the two teams took place in Week 3, with the Falcons emerging as 45-32 winners on Monday night football. Now quarterback Matt Ryan has a chance to present fans with a win as the Atlanta Falcons playoff scenarios heavily favor the team nabbing that No. 2 seed.

[Featured Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]