The League

Dave Choate
Falcons Blogger

Dave Choate

A reporter and the head editor at The Falcoholic.

Forget the Falcons

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If I were a man of lesser convictions, I could cite a few facts that would lead you to believe the Atlanta Falcons were the team on the playoff bubble who have the best shot of hanging in there. After all, they're the team I write about daily and the one I'm arguably most qualified to comment on, and they did just pull out a win this weekend. It'd be a relatively easy argument to make, especially after they stunned the world by making the playoffs in 2008.

I am convinced, however, that the Falcons are not going to be that team again. There's too many injuries, too many question marks and too many quality opponents left on the schedule. Instead, I'm going to point to the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers are somewhat of a forgotten team despite sitting at 7-4 in the standings. Beaten twice by the Brett Favres -- er, Vikings -- they were left for dead just a few short weeks ago. It's not like their schedule is noticeably easier than any other NFC team in the final stretch of the season, as they still have the Ravens, Steelers and Cardinals. It's just that they're the best football team on the cusp.

They have one of the league's best young quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, who has survived behind a patchwork offensive line and blossomed. They have a solid ground game led by Ryan Grant. Their receivers are all very talented and the defense is coming into its own. That offensive line is a lingering problem, but they have all the pieces to make a playoff run and I'm counting on it happening. The Packers' passing attack matches up favorably with a weak Ravens secondary, their balance will help them against the Steelers and the Cardinals. That could be ten wins right there, and that's not even including games against the Seahawks and Bears.

In my mind, they'll come out of the last five games in prime position to grab a wild card slot and make some noise in the playoffs. As sad as it makes me to say it, I can't say the same for the Falcons.

By Dave Choate  |  November 30, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Green Bay Packers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Why so glum Dave? While I agree that injuries are going to be a huge concern heading into these final five games, the Falcons have by far the kindest schedule among teams chasing a wildcard. Green Bay beat up a hapless Detroit team with a QB whose left arm almost fell off, and are missing two critical starters on defense, while still having to face three legitimate playoff contenders down the stretch (and they lost to the Bucs).

Philly's remaining schedule is brutal going to Atl, @NYG, hosting the Niners and Broncos, and finishing @Dal. Not one gimme game in the bunch, and I would not be surprised if they dropped 3 to go 9-7.

The Giants might be without Eli for the rest of the season, and if not, he'll be hobbled at best. So that leaves an injury-plagued Atlanta with a soft defense having to go 4-1 down the stretch with (Philly, NO and Buf at home, Jets and Bucs on the road). All but NO seem winnable. Don't be so down my friend, it's still possible!

Posted by: stephen260 | November 30, 2009 2:22 PM

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