Falcons coach Mike Smith would never acknowledge it, but of the top four teams competing for a wildcard berth in the NFC playoffs, his team has the easiest schedule.
It proved murder early on three of the first four on the road (those road games coming against teams that either qualified for the playoffs last season or posted at least 10 wins) and home dates with Philadelphia and Green Bay and plenty of Falcons fans were alarmed by the teams 2-3 start. But the Falcons survived.
Following their Nov. 13 game against New Orleans, the Falcons schedule is mostly cake and now they are catching some breaks. Breaks like the 2-8 Vikings coming to town on Sunday most likely without running back Adrian Peterson (high-ankle sprain). Like visiting Houston (7-3), once seemingly the AFCs top team, the following week without quarterback Matt Schaub (broken foot).
Its not worth asking Smith about the quality of the Falcons upcoming schedule he takes every game and every opponent too seriously ...