By Eric Schmidt

The Atlanta Falcons were the NFC’s number one seed in the playoffs last season and have sort of fallen out of the discussion regarding the upcoming playoffs. However, the Falcons, at 5-3, are perfectly poised to make a run at not only the playoff, but a repeat performance as NFC South division champions.

The Atlanta Falcons were sluggish this season right out of the gate, alternating between wins and losses but coming off their bye in Week Eight, I believe this is a team poised to make a significant run to the playoffs and a team which has a chance to reclaim the NFC South divisional title.

Atlanta is hovering around the middle of the pack as far as the statistical breakdown of NFL teams go currently, but the back end of their schedule is very favorable. QB Matt Ryan has a career 27-6 overall record playing indoors and the Falcons play 7 of their last 8 games in a dome, either at home or away.

RB Michael Turner is on pace for another solid season with nearly 700 rushing yards and 7 scores after eight games. Rookie WR Julio Jones is now posting the numbers that the Falcons expected early on. In three of his last four games, the rookie wideout has posted over 100 yards receiving and put up 131 yards and two scores last week against the Indianapolis Colts.Jones and Ryan appear dialed in right now, especially as veteran WR Roddy White leads the league in dropped passes.

Looking at the Falcons schedule for the remainder of the season, there are two games remaining against the New Orleans Saints, the first contest coming this Sunday. Sandwiched in between the games against the Saints are games which the Falcons could sweep as wins, Tennessee, Minnesota, Houston, Carolina and Jacksonville.

Atlanta finishes the season at New Orleans and hosting Tampa Bay. Looking at this schedule, Atlanta could finish the season 11-5, if not 12-4. Given the dysfunctional behavior the New Orleans Saints have shown playing away from the Superdome, the Falcons might very well get themselves right back into the division title race in the NFC South, starting this weekend.






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