Poll time: Can Falcons, Thrashers, Hawks all make playoffs?

The Falcons are celebrating in part because of general manager Thomas Dimitroff and quarterback Matt Ryan.

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and quarterback Matt Ryan are celebrating -- and so is Atlanta.

Welcome to Atlanta, the center of the pro sports universe. On Nov. 29. Sorta.

This doesn’t happen very often — if ever — so I figured I better jump on it now, before lunch. If the playoffs opened today, everybody is in.

This has never happened before. Quick, stop the calendar!

The Falcons . . .

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The Braves . . .

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The Falcons are tied for the best record in the NFL at 9-2. They have beaten Green Bay and Baltimore after early season losses to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia left some wondering about their ceiling. They’re a potential Super Bowl team.

The Thrashers have won five straight to improve to 12-9-3. They’re in seventh place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, with the top eight going to

The Thrashers . . .

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The Hawks . . .

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the postseason. It’s a remarkable showing by a young and somewhat undermanned team, which ranks last in the NHL in payroll and first in cap space.

The Hawks have won three straight and are 11-7. I know, there’s the hangover from the Boston game. But at 11-7, they’re third in the NBA’s East. (Elsewhere in Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are 9-8, just short of the projected 17-0.)

The Braves are coming off their first postseason in five seasons and already have added Dan Uggla to the roster.

How many parades do we need to plan for?

OK, so here’s the serious question: Who do you feel good about? The Falcons obviously are best positioned for a championship. The Hawks are still having consistency issues and lack a true center. The Thrashers have been terrific but it’s easy to wonder how long they can continue to play at this level as constructed, and what the level of commitment is from ownership.

Uggla helps the Braves. But center field is still a question, as is leadoff.

Let me hear your thoughts on the four teams (we’ll throw the Braves in there, even though it’s the offseason). I’ve also put up four polls, one for each team.

Hurry, before something changes.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

94 comments Add your comment

get2dchopper

November 29th, 2010
12:10 pm

They all make it, but the Falcons are the only champions this go around.

Erik

November 29th, 2010
12:11 pm

Good morning Jeff,

The Falcons and the Braves for sure!!

Telfo

November 29th, 2010
12:12 pm

This is probably the best the 4 teams have ever been at one time. Thrashers team is easily the best we have ever had. Falcons probably the same thing. Braves are moving back into mid 90’s form and the Hawks are pretty solid.

LOVE IT

Mike

November 29th, 2010
12:13 pm

“Just short of the projected 17-0″ haha, love it.
This is the best Thrash team we have ever seen. Now that they’ve got Ramsays system down pat, expect them to move on up from that 7th place spot.
Let’s try to get some people out to Philips, for both teams there, because they’re actually worth watching this year. (That’s more aimed toward the Thrashers – the worth watching part, I’m not too big on how the Hawks have been in the years past, but I do know their attendance isn’t that great either.)

Erik

November 29th, 2010
12:14 pm

Hey Jeff,

How about SACK SCHULTZ for the all BOWL games? Should be fun! :-)

Erik

November 29th, 2010
12:16 pm

I meant “for all the BOWL games!” :-)

justdhoo

November 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

The Falcons are pretty much a lock. The Hawks are in because of the ridiculous NBA playoffs where after 82 games less than half the teams are eliminated. The Thrashers are a hockey team in Atlanta, enough said. The Braves are looking good, but making the playoffs is tough in MLB (as it should be). They really need McClouth to bounce back and fix both the leadoff and outfield problems.

5150 P.O.A.D.

November 29th, 2010
12:21 pm

Ryan better do IT this Year. The Guy is getting Married and then it is all over but the crying. Matt Win It All while you still have your Footballs still in the air.

corey

November 29th, 2010
12:22 pm

Falcons have a damn good shot at being the #1 seed in the NFC this year.

The Braves look like they’ll be a pretty good team on paper. That doesn’t translate sometimes.

The Hawks.. who knows anymore. There’s some talented dudes on that team that have been together awhile, but it’s hard to say. I don’t know if they can hang with Boston, LA, or Orlando.

Large Orange

November 29th, 2010
12:22 pm

Falcons- No doubt!
Braves- I’d have to say yes.
Hawks- Probably. Every NBA team but 4 make the playoffs
Thrashers- I had no idea Atlanta had a girl’s soccer team.

Ryder

November 29th, 2010
12:23 pm

The Falcons are obviously in the best spot to win a championship out of all the four major teams. They have the players and management in place to make some noise for years to come.

The Thrashers are doing well but it will be interesting to see if it continues as the grind of the NHL season goes on.

The Braves have the talent to make the playoffs for years to come as long as the primary players (Prado, Heyward, McCann, Uggla) stay healthy.

The Hawks are in the worst position and always will be because of the mindset of their inept management, which is “we’ll put a roster that’s good enough to entertain the fans and make it to the playoffs but never become serious about a championship.” If they were serious about winning titles Marvin Williams and Josh Smith would be gone a long time ago.

Athens Mike

November 29th, 2010
12:26 pm

I think the Falcons are the best team in the NFL.

Braves will make playoffs and do well.
Hawks will make because everyone does.
Thrashers play hockey, I don’t care.

Paul H

November 29th, 2010
12:29 pm

Agree with get2dchopper. They all make it, Falcons come home with the gold. Or at least the silver.

Benjamin

November 29th, 2010
12:30 pm

…and the Bulldogs and Yeller Jackets are going bowling!

*cough*

suwaneefalcon

November 29th, 2010
12:31 pm

I hope all the Atlanta teams make but, I want to throw out an extra kudos to the Thrashers. They are very much under apprecitaed in this town and that includes the coverage of the AJC. Come on guys, pick it up on game reporting and information. This team is for real and should get the coverage they deserve. Might help the attendence.

Benjamin

November 29th, 2010
12:31 pm

Those of you that don’t watch hockey need to know that the Thrashers are pretty good. If you like winning pro sports franchises, now might be the time to learn a new sport; they’ve got a lot of young talent that will probably be around for a while.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor, Nicole V. Linton, Kristi Dosh, Jeff Schultz, Jeff Schultz and others. Jeff Schultz said: Can every Atlanta pro team make playoffs? Bueller? Bueller? #Falcons #Braves #Thrashers #Hawks http://bit.ly/fYb8Eg [...]

DawgFan

November 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

“(Elsewhere in Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are 9-8, just short of the projected 17-0.)”

Jeff, that may be one of the best lines in the history of sports journalism.

Matt

November 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

The Thrashers have been on an unbelievable roll the last week. The teams they have beaten in the last 5 (with the exception of the NYI) have NOT been the “sisters of the poor”. If they can sustain this level, it will be a playoff berth for sure.

The Falcons look to be solid and hopefully can lock down home field. Braves are an unknown right now. As for the Hawks, who cares, it’s pro basketball.

Herschel Talker

November 29th, 2010
12:52 pm

Schultzie:

Fire Mark Richt

HT

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brett Israel, sambrooklyn, Kenton, OrestPodubinski, Roy Harris and others. Roy Harris said: RT @JeffSchultzAJC: Poll time: Can Falcons, Thrashers, Hawks all make playoffs? http://bit.ly/ehU7uh [...]

All I'm Saying...

November 29th, 2010
12:54 pm

Feels great to be able to say that “all of our teams have a chance” but the crystal ball sez:

Falcons host and beat Da’ Bears (surprise) in NFC Championship Game and then either beat loud, brash, over-confident NY Jets (some of whom hang out along with their Butthead coach at a gentlemen’s club for way too long the night before the big game) or lose to the Patriots who are too well coached to make that bonehead of a move

Thrashers break through, make the playoffs, and win their first playoff series thanks to the addition of the former Blackhawk players but lose in next round due to facing a hot goalie

Braves win Wild Card again this time under Fredi and win a NLDS as well before succumbing in NLCS to angry Phillies eager to atone for their embarrassing 2010 exit

Hawks win 50 games since we have a lot of bad teams in NBA and in the Eastern Conference and win their first round playoff series too before exiting in second round due to lack of height and depth in front-court and having been surpassed by Celtics, Magic, Heat (they’ll get it going soon), and even the Milwaukee Bucks (yeah, I know they are 6 and 10 right now but did you see them in the playoffs last season without Bogut?)

LET’S GO FALCONS!
LET’S GO THRASHERS!
LET’S GO HAWKS!
LET’S GO BRAVES (especially you, Frank)!

Great question

November 29th, 2010
1:02 pm

In order of likelihood of winning a championship:
1.) Falcons – great ownership, in great position to win a Super Bowl for many years.
2A.) Braves
2B.) Hawks
-We know what is wrong with the Braves/Hawks (outfielder, center), but we have poor ownership that won’t pay the money to fix them.
3.) Thrashers – who cares?

NCBravesFan

November 29th, 2010
1:02 pm

They all make it – my guess is the Falcons can get pretty far if they have home field advantage – the furthest of any of the four at this point. Hawks will make it and lose in the second if not first round. Same for the Thrashers. Braves look really good barring injury, but with a questionable CF and rookie 1B I’m not ready to get too excited about them as a championship contender just yet.

Bravesfan79

November 29th, 2010
1:07 pm

Falcons and Braves BOTH go all the way to the Super Bowl and World Series!

Jamaaliver

November 29th, 2010
1:09 pm

With new coaches for most of the other teams and ownership with tight purse strings for those same teams, I think only the Falcons have the resoursec, experience and dedication from management to truly win it all.

Katherine

November 29th, 2010
1:17 pm

According to skip bayless the falcons “just aren’t that good” lol its amazing to me how espn bashes the falcons.

DawgDad

November 29th, 2010
1:29 pm

Thrashers deserve your attention, everyone. This is an inspired young team with extremely heavy emphasis on “team”. Totally refreshing in today’s “all about me” sports world context of Ocho’s, TO’s, LeBron’s, Kovalchuk’s, etc. Hockey is a blue-collar sport, not unlike manning the trenches in football, and this team is earning every bit of their recent success through sustained effort and synergy.

Yes, the roster might prove to be fragile, or the owners might force trades of key players (not likely, really), or the kids might melt in the pressure of a playoff run, or the stellar goaltender might yet again fall faint. But this team right now is playing hockey the way it was meant to be played, which we’ve rarely seen even glimpses of here in Atlanta.

jfreak13713

November 29th, 2010
1:36 pm

Falcons reach NFC Championship games but get beat by Vick on 35 yard touchdown run as time expires ….

Hawks make the playoffs as 5 seed but get bounced in first round.

Thrashers? Who are they?

Braves win 92 games and make playoffs but get beat by Giants who win world series????? Really, does that seem right?

Falcons, only Altanta team that has real chance of winning it all! Braves could enter the discuss if they fill a couple more holes??

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 29th, 2010
1:37 pm

There are pro sports other than football?

Gwinnett Fred

November 29th, 2010
1:39 pm

Anybody else realize that yesterday for the first time EVER, the Falcons, Hawks & Thrashers all won on the same day???

BTW – as great as the Falcons are playing – this current stretch by the Thrashers is probably as good as ANY pro team in Atlanta has ever played. You can’t do better than 5-0 and 4 of those 5 against the highest level of competition and not only winning, but destroying them!!!

Roy Barnes

November 29th, 2010
1:40 pm

Miss me yet?

Chris

November 29th, 2010
1:44 pm

Don’t forget about the Dream. They made a big run in the WNBA playoffs this year and return the same players for next season. Maybe Atlanta can finally shed its label as “Loserville”.

meh

November 29th, 2010
1:44 pm

if the new hitting coach can get McLouth straightened out, that could fix both the CF and leadoff issues. I think all 4 teams can make the playoffs. The Falcons have the best shot at winning it all.

Terrell

November 29th, 2010
1:44 pm

I don’t understand the bashing of the NBA playoff system. 8 teams from the east and 8 teams from the west make the playoffs. That is only 2 teams more than the NFL in each conference.

Jerry Glanville

November 29th, 2010
1:46 pm

Grits blitz.

HOCKEY???

November 29th, 2010
1:47 pm

I think it is great that all 12 fans of the Thrashers have responded on this blog. Nobody in this town (except the 12)cares what the Thrashers do…hockey? Are you kidding? Braves, Falcons are serious play-off teams. Hawks are in only if they can make it with 38 to 40 wins; they get eliminated in first round without competing much.

Jimmy Carter

November 29th, 2010
1:47 pm

I am the world’s smartest man.

Nancy Peliso

November 29th, 2010
1:50 pm

I am the world’s smartest person.

Terrell

November 29th, 2010
1:51 pm

If the Braves go back to what they were in the 90s we are in serious trouble. All I remember is winning the World Series only once. It’s funny that in this town the Braves are admired for getting into the playoffs but always seem to lose when it matters most but we always give them a pass.

DawgDad

November 29th, 2010
1:54 pm

Gwinnett: I share your appreciation of the Thrashers recent run, and yes, they’ve raised a lot of eyebrows around the NHL, but they need to prove they can beat or hang with teams like the Avs, Pens, and Caps on the road. If they follow up last week with a good road trip this week, or at least maintain play at the same sustained level of energy and synergy, then we’ll know they’ve got something really special going on.

DawgFan

November 29th, 2010
1:56 pm

Chris @ 1:44-
Right, we have to remember the Dream, after all… they…

Sorry, I couldn’t even type it, I’m laughing so hard.

Get back

November 29th, 2010
1:58 pm

Hockey???? Get back in your trailer and put your tee shirt back on. Nascar races start again soon.

Gwinnett Fred

November 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

DawgDad – I’m with you on that and hoping they can do just what you say.

BTW – If my figuring of tie breakers is correct – if the Falcons go 4-1 to close out the year, they will keep the #1 seed in the NFC!!!!!!

That loss can even come against the Saints! That’s due to even if the Saints win out, the two teams would be 13-3, split the head to head which takes us to % in common games and Atlanta is 12-2 and Saints 11-3.

So not looking to losing to the Saints, but if we can take care of business against the Bucs, Seahawks & Panthers twice (and if we don’t against those teams, we aren’t what we say we are) – then we are NFC’s #1 regardless of what happens on 12/26!!!!

FalconUGAFan

November 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

(Elsewhere in Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are 9-8, just short of the projected 17-0.) —-Pure comedic gold, Jeff :)

Darkhorse

November 29th, 2010
2:06 pm

I hope all the Atlanta teams make the playoffs and make a run. Not sure why there are so many anti-hockey people here(probably just the same one or two people that think UGA still had a great year). It’s a great sport to be around, unless you’re too stupid to come to grasp on the rules after the first few times watching it.

I’m not a huge football guy, but I want the Falcons to do well as a life-long resident.

Jimmy Carter

November 29th, 2010
2:08 pm

Nancy,

Get off this blog!

Count Bertram - Not to be Confused with THE COUNT

November 29th, 2010
2:10 pm

Skip Bayless is the best thing that could happen to the Falcons. Let him alone.

Dr. Warren

November 29th, 2010
2:18 pm

Falcons are looking like a ‘98 calibre team. And thanks for the blog about our pro sports teams, Jeff. Like I alluded to yesterday, they all deserve more attention than UGA and Tech’s mediocre college teams.

balismith

November 29th, 2010
2:18 pm

the falcons and braves are heading in the right direction hopefully they will make the playoffs and move beyound the first round….. do not watch hockey so who knows, … do the hawks still play basketball in atlanta with all the empty seats thought the circus was in town