For a good portion of the 2017 NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons have looked a little hungover. Maybe not full-blown bachelor party hungover, but they’ve been walking around like a mid-30s dad who had six IPAs the night before. Believe me, I can smell my own. But the Falcons should be thrilled, because they are looking like a good bet to lock up a second consecutive playoff berth after beating the Buccaneers on Monday night.
There was nothing pretty about the win; Julio Jones and Matt Ryan continue to look out of sync, and without Devonta Freeman truck-sticking dudes all over the field in Tampa, the Falcons probably lose this game. Ryan ran well (?) but only went 17 for 31 with 212 passing yards. The air game just looked out of whack against a Bucs defense that was gutted by injuries, with Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Vernon Hargreaves all declared inactive before the game began.
The news was worse for another team, however, as the Packers are now eliminated from the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers’ heroic return was more brief than anyone could have anticipated. At 7-7, the Packers can’t finish better than 9-7 and they would not hold a tiebreaker over the Falcons.