With only one game left to play, the Atlanta Braves are already in a position to make the playoffs if the regular season ends on a high note.
Injuries and suspensions could slow things down, but Atlanta has an outside shot at getting to the postseason, even if they don’t get there on Sunday.
Here are five reasons why the Atlanta Falcons could end up in the postseason.
The playoff picture is so dire.
The Atlanta Falcons entered Sunday’s season with a chance to make a run at the postseason despite their 1-2 record.
In the past six years, only two teams have reached the postseason with a winning record.
The 2016 Chicago Bears reached the NFC Championship Game and were swept in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks, while the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs were swept by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional round.
The 2017 Los Angeles Rams are one of just four teams to reach the playoffs each of the past five years, and the 2017 Seattle Seahawks are one win away from being in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
If the Falcons were to get swept in this year’s postseason, they would only have two weeks to find a way to reach a wild-card spot.
If Atlanta ends up making the postseason after Sunday’s games, the team would be left with two weeks of games left before it would need to play again.
With just one win to go, it’s likely that Atlanta will miss the playoffs, as they would be eliminated from the postseason without a victory.
It’s not all bad news for the Atlanta team.
The team is playing without their top two receivers, Julio Jones and Julio Jones Jr., for most of the season.
The two have played in just one playoff game each, and Jones has struggled to break out of the lineup in recent weeks.
It could be a season-ending injury for Jones, who has missed three games due to injuries in each of his past four seasons.
If Jones is out for the entire regular season, it will be a major blow to Atlanta’s depth at wide receiver.
In addition, the Falcons are already missing top receiver Mohamed Sanu, who had surgery in late July to repair a torn ACL.
He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
Atlanta will have a big game on Sunday, but it won’t be easy.
Atlanta played its last game on April 27, and it is unlikely that the Falcons will have any chance to play in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers this year.
In 2017, Atlanta won just three games, losing at home to the New England Patriots and by a combined score of 44-28 to the Kansas City Royals.
It is unknown whether the Falcons would be as competitive in 2018, as the franchise would be in a rebuilding phase.
In 2019, Atlanta will be playing in the new Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a venue that was built to host football games.
Atlanta is one of the NFL’s poorest markets for attendance, and losing a game at home would be a blow to the team’s future.
The Falcons might still have an edge in the playoff race.
The Seattle Seahawks had a 1-0 record entering Sunday, and Seattle finished with a 14-10 record after losing its season opener to the Green-Bay Packers.
The Los Angeles Chargers, a franchise that has never finished better than 7-9 in its last 14 seasons, finished a game back at 4-6 and will have to get through another wild-Card game without winning in its home city.
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished a season 9-7, and are just two games back of Atlanta in the wild-cards.
The 2018 San Francisco 49ers and the 2019 Cleveland Browns both finished with 10-5 records entering Sunday’s game.
The New Orleans Saints finished a year 11-5, but have a 3-2 conference record.
This could be the first Super Bowl game in which the Atlanta Seahawks could potentially win, but a win could still be enough to win the NFC South and clinch the No. 1 seed.
This isn’t a bad team to start the season off against.
Atlanta’s offensive struggles have been well documented, but the Atlanta offense has been particularly porous in 2017.
The offensive line was a major concern, as well, as both Aaron Donald and Austin Hooper struggled with injuries throughout the season and played in only five games.
While the offensive line has improved dramatically over the past few seasons, the offensive tackle position has been a big problem.
Rookie D.J. Humphries struggled early in the season, but has quickly improved over the course of the year and will be the starter when the Falcons face off against the Steelers.
Humphrie is an All-Pro candidate in 2017, and he is capable of playing a major role in the passing game, but he’ll have to prove that he can handle the pressure of the top-ranked defense in the league.
The defense will have help. The 2015