It's not guaranteed, but pretty close to a slam dunk that the Falcons win the division. We won't know how injuries will effect the next 10 weeks of the season, but let's assume status quo for most teams.
I think at worst, you're looking at a Falcon team that goes 5-5 the rest of the way. But potentially, I think you could see us go 7-3.
I think the best the Saints could finish is 7-3 as well, which obviously still means that even at 5-5 the Falcons win the division.
So I think it's pretty safe to presume you will have the opportunity to see the Falcons play at least 1 playoff game this year in the Georgia Dome.
The bigger question is where will the Falcons be seeded.
We don't have a tough schedule the rest of the way, presumably it's the weakest of the current division winners.
But the Giants are 5-2, and while they have a very tough schedule, many of the good teams we thought this year aren't as good as many thought going into the season. Games vs. CIN, PIT, GB, PHI, NO, BAL, etc. don't appear as formidable now as they did back in August. So it's possible that the Giants could wind up finish 6-3 or 7-2. But given that historically the Giants tend to be underachievers/inconsistent during regular season, let's assume 5 or 6 wins, to allow them to finish 10-6 or 11-5. That means our seeding with them will likely be determined by the winner of our Week 15 matchup.
GB's schedule (4-3) looks pretty easy. Outside their division games and going up against the NYG, they don't really have a tough road. If they play like they've done in recent weeks, you're also looking at a team that is probably going to coast to 10 or 11 wins. It wouldn't shock me if they went 8-1 the rest of the way, assuming they've started to find their stride again offensively.
CHI (4-1) outside the division has HOU and SF. San Fran is a road game, Houston is at home. If you assume they drop 2 in the division, and both those games, at worst you're talking 7-4, again another 11+ win team probably.
Everybody is waiting for MIN (5-2) to fall off. 5 more division games, plus on the road vs. SEA & HOU, probably means 4-5 the rest of the way, so they are probably not giong to win the NFC North, but at 9-7 have a shot at the last wildcard.
SEA (4-3) probably has it relatively. Toughest road games are @CHI, @DET, and home vs. their remaining division opponents, and MIN. Their problem is that they are 0-3 in the division, and basically have to win their remaining 3 division games (all coming in December) to have any shot at winning the West. But it's feasible that Seattle can get to double digits with 6 more wins.
SF (5-2) still has to play NO, @NE, CHI, @SEA, and ARI & STL (each 2x). We're talking maybe 5-4 at worst. But it also wouldn't surprise me to see them go 8-1 either. So they are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Eagles (3-3) are in the mix in NFC East. So far 1-0 in division (beat NYG), and have all 5 of their division games left. Outside division, ATL, @NO, and CIN are probably their 3 toughest games. If they wind up going like 4-2 in the division, they could be a team that gets to 10 or 11 wins as well. I think they probably cap out at 11 though.
DAL (3-3) is also in that mix, because they too beat the Giants, and have 5 division games left. Outside the division, @ATL, @CIN, PIT, NO are their toughest games. If Dallas is un-Dallas, they might surprise with a strong finish and also might be capping out around 11 or so wins.
Long story short, I think the 2 biggest threats to the No. 1 seed are SF and NYG. If either of those teams play up to their capabilities the rest of the way, you're talking about potentially 12 or 13-win seasons, right around where I think the Falcons can potentially finish.
So I think at worst you're looking at the Falcons being a No. 3 seed. But I do think that the Giants will have to start winning their division games if they want to be at the top in the end. So I think in all likelihood the Falcons will finish either No. 1 or No. 2 and get a bye.
But obviously there are still plenty of ACLs and labrums that can get torn over the next 10 weeks that could affect all of this.
ATL (11-13 wins)
SF (11-13 wins)
GB (10-12 wins)
NYG (10-12 wins)
CHI (10-12 wins)
DAL (9-11 wins)
PHI (9-11 wins)
SEA (8-11 wins)
MIN (8-10 wins)
NO (8-10 wins)
ARI (7-9 wins)
WAS (7-9 wins)
DET (7-9 wins)
STL (6-9 wins)
TB (6-9 wins)
CAR (5-8 wins)
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.