Jackson L.: What do you guys need to do to get to the playoffs?
The Falcons will be a playoff-caliber team if they cut down on self-inflicted wounds. The New Orleans game notwithstanding, every loss this season has come down to avoidable mistakes. Turnovers, pre-snap penalties, missed assignments—all of these errors have made substantial impacts this year. If Atlanta plays smart, fundamentally sound football down the stretch, a postseason berth will be in the cards.
Zane B.: Any clues on (Freeman's) condition for Sunday?
Devonta Freeman has a concussion and will be going through concussion protocol this week. Dan Quinn said Monday that the RB's recovery is off to a good start, so it's possible he'll suit up against Minnesota. However, given the seriousness of head injuries, it wouldn't be surprising—or unreasonable—if he needed more than six days to rest.
Getting Devin Hester back should give the Falcons a nice boost. Eric Weems has done an admirable job in his stead, but it's difficult to replace the best active kick/punt returner in the game. Hester could help on offense, too, just like he did last year, when he racked up 504 receiving yards. Given how close most of Atlanta's games have been this year, adding someone as electric as Hester can make a tremendous difference.
I thought the offense did a solid job spreading the ball around on Sunday. Matt Ryan targeted Roddy White nine times; in his return from injury, Leonard Hankerson came down with four catches on seven targets. That said, Kyle Shanahan is focused on getting the ball to Julio Jones. The superstar receiver is capable of breaking Marvin Harrison's single-season reception record, so a balanced passing attack may not be in the team's best interested right now.