Much has been made about how difficult the Falcons’ schedule was this season and whether, at 13-3, they’re truly one of the elite teams in the NFL playoff field.
We really won’t know the answer to that until we see how they fare Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, and possibly beyond. But here’s one measuring stick, which you may or may not consider relevant. I went through all 12 teams in the playoff field and compared their results against other postseason teams.
The Falcons are the only team that went undefeated: 2-0.
They’ve also played the fewest playoff teams: two (Denver and Washington). Every other team faced between three (Washington) and seven (Minnesota and Houston) playoff teams during the regular season.
The most impressive team: Seattle at 4-1. The Seahawks have beaten Green Bay, New England, Minnesota and San Francisco, and their only loss came to a divisional opponent (49ers) that they later defeated.
Here are the standings vs. playoff teams, ranked by winning percentage.
Atlanta: 2-0 (1.000) (wins: Denver, Washington)
Seattle: 4-1 (.800) (wins: Green Bay, New England, Minn., San Fran.)
Washington: 2-1 (.667) (wins: Minnesota, Baltimore)
San Francisco: 3-2 (.600) (wins: Green Bay, Seattle, New England)
Indianapolis: 3-2 (.600) (wins: Minnesota, Green Bay, Houston)
New England: 3-3 (.500) (wins: Denver, Indianapolis, Houston)
Cincinnati: 2-2 (.500) (wins: Washington, Baltimore)
Houston: 3-4 (.429) (wins: Denver, Baltimore, Indianapolis)
Minnesota: 3-4 (.429) (wins: San Francisco, Houston, Green Bay)
Denver: 2-3 (.400) (wins: Cincinnati, Baltimore)
Baltimore: 2-4 (.333) (wins: Cincinnati, New England)
Green Bay: 2-4 (.333) (wins: Houston, Minnesota)
The Falcons swept eight games against the NFC East and AFC West this season, but only one team in each of those divisions ended up making the playoffs.
The relevance of all this.
We’re about to find out.
By Jeff Schultz