And now the party might just be getting started again.
Atlanta’s third straight win, a 34-20 humbling of visiting Tampa Bay, kept the Falcons (7-4) on track for a playoff berth while serving as a reminder of just how dangerous this team will be if it gets there.
Reason for pessimism: The Falcons face a rough remaining schedule. Home-and-away matchups against New Orleans (9-3) are sandwiched around a Monday night road game vs. Tampa Bay (4-8). The season finale is against visiting Carolina (8-4), which beat Atlanta earlier this season.
Biggest remaining game: In a conference where 10 wins might be needed for a wild-card spot, the Falcons probably need to upend the Saints at home Thursday night for their best chance of hitting that target.
If they fall short …: Blame an early-season three-game losing streak that included home losses to Buffalo and Miami for putting Atlanta in a tough spot heading into December.
Riley Reiff, OT, Minnesota Vikings: Reiff was injured during the second half against the Panthers and had to be helped off the field. He was declared questionable to return because of an ankle injury. Reiff was spotted in a walking boot after the game.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians on Gabbert as next year’s starter if Palmer retires: “The way he’s playing right now, I’d be very, very comfortable. I think it’s a possibility.”
Gronkowski on his touchdown celebration with Cooks: “That was not planned or anything. We got yelled at. We’re not allowed to talk about celebrations. That’s what we got told. But, I kind of want to talk about it, but I kind of don’t because I’ll get in trouble, so I don’t know what to do. So, it just happened on the spot. It wasn’t planned. We’ll just keep it there.”