Each week, Falcons vice president of football communications Reggie Roberts sits down with an expert and talks about the Falcons as well as what's going on in the rest of the league. This week's expert is NFL.com's Steve Wyche.
Reggie Roberts: As the 2010 NFL regular season quickly draws to a close, give us the six teams you think will qualify for the playoffs in each conference and pick a division winner for each of the four divisions in each conference.
Steve Wyche: NFC South: Falcons; NFC West: Rams; NFC East: Eagles; NFC North: Bears. NFC Wild Cards: Giants, Saints.
AFC East: Patriots; AFC North: Steelers; AFC West: Chiefs; AFC South: Colts; AFC Wild Cards: Ravens, Jets.
RR: NFL experts have been saying that Patriots QB Tom Brady is going to be the NFL's 2010 MVP. Do you think he lock up the award with his performance in New England's 36-7 win over Chicago at snowy Soldier Field on Sunday?
SW: As awesome as Brady has been — he would get my vote (if I had one) as of today — he didn't lock it up yet. What could hurt Brady is now that New England has secured a playoff spot, some of the attention and drama could come off of him and point toward Michael Vick, Troy Polamalu or Philip Rivers. Vick and Rivers have make-or-break games the rest of the way and if they dazzle and get their teams to the playoffs that will help their cause. That doesn't mean that Brady and the Pats don't have any big games, in fact, if he shreds the Packers this week, he might have too much momentum to overcome. I just think that we've seen too many awards sway in the final weeks when things are on the line.
RR: The Falcons have the NFC's best record at 11-2 and RB Michael Turner has seemingly regained his form of 2008. Do you see the Falcons having enough firepower on both sides of the football to make a deep run into the playoffs?
SW: Absolutely. There is no reason why they shouldn't, even if they don't secure home-field advantage, which they will. The Falcons can run, they can throw, the defense makes plays when it has to and the special teams are incredibly solid. They're also the best coached team from top-to-bottom in the NFL.
RR: Which team is going to be the one left standing in the NFC West?
SW: St. Louis. The 49ers haven't shown enough consistency to make me believe in them. Seattle is even flakier. Although St. Louis took one from New Orleans last week, it played well on offense (except for the turnovers). The Rams can run the ball and Bradford is so good. It's a shame he doesn't have any help at wide receiver. Speaking of shame, can Steven Jackson get some love? Six 1,000-yard seasons in a row with that franchise is nothing short of exceptional. The defense has been banged up and they lack speed on the edges but they should be getting a few players back soon. How about this, St. Louis, or whoever does win that division, could be playing host to a 12-4, 13-3 Saints team in the Wild Card game.
RR: Perhaps the game of the week will take place in Baltimore when the Ravens host the red-hot New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Baltimore. Who do you like in that game?
SW: I initially liked the Ravens and I think I still do, but their defense isn't what it was and the Saints' offense is really starting to get cranked up — getting Pierre Thomas back changes things. If the elements come into play, I like Baltimore but, as of now, I like New Orleans to steal one on the road.