LIVE: Are Falcons headed for…first place?

Matt Ryan and Falcons seek their second straight win. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

Matt Ryan and Falcons seek their second straight win. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

Matt Ryan and Falcons seek their second straight win. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE — The 3-6 Atlanta Falcons, who are tied for the second-worst record in the NFC and are sixth from the bottom in the NFL, have a chance to be in first place by the time this day is over.

Wait. What?

Yes, in the NFC South, land of opportunity, the Falcons (3-6) are one game behind division leader New Orleans (4-5) and a half-game back of Carolina (3-6-1). That means the winner of today’s Falcons-Panthers game can take over first place in the NFL’s worst division if the Saints lose their home game against Cincinnati.

Regardless, there’s nothing to indicate that any of those three teams are about to go on a tear, so the division race, and therefore a playoff berth, may go down to the regular season’s final week.

Two of the Falcons’ three wins have come over Tampa Bay. Actually, since Week 3 of last season, the Falcons are 3-1 against the Buccaneers and 3-20 against other opponents. The other three wins have come over New Orleans (2014), Washington (2013) and Buffalo (2013).

So about today: While the Falcons reaffirmed their superiority over the Bucs last week and gained some measure of confidence, the Panthers are a mess. They were pounded by Philadelphia 45-21 Monday night and have lost four straight and six of eight (1-6-1) since a 2-0 start.

The team is allowing an average of 28.1 points per game (29th in the NFL, five spots behind the Falcons at 26.1) and there are increasing questions about Cam Newton’s future with the franchise (he has an option year left).

There obviously are questions about the future of the Falcons, as well — players, coaches and front office members. But as long as they’re in the division race, all major decisions are on hold.

That’s it for now. This is your live blog and I’ll be commenting during the game. The cyber floor is yours.

A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Three short takes on Georgia’s win and Gurley
— MyAJC: Dogs have a statement win, now hope for best with Gurley
— MyAJC: As hoops open, Tech looks far more ready than Georgia
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets cross bridge, Falcons back to normal
— MyAJC: Ladies and gentlemen Georgia vs. Georgia Tech (in basketball, yes now)
— AJC: If Georgia wins out, would it sway playoff committee?
— MyAJC: All eyes are on Gurley (even if you can’t find him)
— AJC: Hart should deal both Uptons and Gattis
— MyAJC: Falcons’ division hopes hinge on beating teams other than Bucs
— AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ win over Tampa Bay
— MyAJC: If Georgia Tech has come together, we’ll find out against Clemson, UGA
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over N.C. State
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons’ find their penicillin — the Bucs
— MyAJC: Amid Atlanta misery, can Hawks really be shining light?
— AJC: Election Day: Vote to keep or fire coaches (polls)
— MyAJC: Georgia blows it all with inexcusable performance
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia’s stunning loss to Florida
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley (oooh, scary); but Dogs over Gators
— AJC: Rules are dumb but that’s no excuse for Todd Gurley
— MyAJC: Mark Richt deserves credit for holding Georgia together
— AJC: NCAA mum but Muschamp expects Gurley to play vs. Florida
— AJC: Will Arthur Blank make move with Mike Smith (and reader poll)?
 

Reader Comments 0

611 comments
Savdon
Savdon

Not being able to participate via mobile phone really stinks.

Okeetee
Okeetee

Chances the Falcons win this division with a losing record.....get a home game to start the playoffs, win that game..........and then win the next playoff game on the road?  1000-1!

ww_
ww_

This is horrible....worst team in the play-offs = horrible draft potential.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

After spending 12 hours watching some very exciting college football, to tune into this snooze fest of endless commercials interrupted by endless attempts at a field goal, is just too much.   Had the weather been better, this viewing experience would have been aborted at half time.  When you depend on the opposition missing two field goals to win, you have to hang onto the edge of your seat.  FIRST PLACE, GO Fieldgoalcons!

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

An ugly win but I will take it.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

Going to be hilarious when the Falcons win the NFC South at 6-10!  

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

First place and 4-0 in the NFC SOUTH DIVISION.


RealAmerican1968
RealAmerican1968

This high powered offense of the Falcons is...not. They gonna have to do better than this to handle the Packers.

Okeetee
Okeetee

@RealAmerican1968 ....still way too conservative!  Ryan starts the drive with a nice 10 yard gain in the 4th quarter.....then they run the ball for 1 yard, puts them in 2nd and long, incomplete pass, another incomplete pass, punt!  If you start out passing, then keep passing.....or at least play action!

TampGator1
TampGator1

This game reminds be of the meltdown by Florida vs. SC on Saturday.

JSSN
JSSN

@GASpider

Let me correct that, he hurt his knee again.

Fierce
Fierce

First place in the division, after winning 4 of 10 games. It's like winning an award for outstanding student, after getting a D in a class, where you're surrounded by F's.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Snoclaf 


I think getting a D in class in schools today is considered enabled success. 

EbertsGhost
EbertsGhost

Just don't have enough playmakers. And Devin Hester? ....Don't get me started. 

AugustaAuthor
AugustaAuthor


Wow...If I was a smoking man, I'd go light a pack...or if I was a drinking man, I'd....

Tvshooter
Tvshooter

Wow. Mike Smith should buy a lotto ticket tonight. That ball not tipped, it had a shot to get in.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

TD AND MIKE SMITH WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TnDawg
TnDawg

Why the heck was this ever in doubt.??  What a crazy win!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

I just hope the team wakes up and realizes how fortunate they are to be playing is such a lousy division.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN @DawgNole

Nope is right--they won't.

But I can still HOPE they will.

And I sure as hell do!

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgNole

Remember when the so-called Troll-Police dogged me about when I said they needed everyone else to regress for this team to be relevant?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN

Well, "everyone else" did their part. Will the Falcons do theirs?

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgNole

They've got two AFC North teams and the Packers still out there. Man, you tell me? I said 8-8, back when all things were perfect, hey the others are done with that now.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN @DawgNole

If they do their part, it will be the first time in 48 years. So no, I don't believe they will. I just keep hoping something will change in my lifetime. Isn't that one of those "definitions of insanity"? 

Okeetee
Okeetee

@JSSN ....so your saying the Falcons don't have to get better....the other teams just have to get worse?  You say right! 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN @DawgNole

Heck, even in '98 they FAILED to do their part in the big one.

moboman
moboman

Well an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.  I guess.....

80sFalcon
80sFalcon

The NFC South is so bad that it's laughable!

Ruffski
Ruffski

Means nothing.. This team going nowhere!!!

JSSN
JSSN

@Ruffski

What do you mean, I mean who doesn't want to play Green Bay, SF, or the Seahawks in the Dome?

joe jr 3
joe jr 3

Going to the Super Bowl Now