For the Atlanta Falcons, there are no complicated math equations or exotic tiebreakers to consider.
If the Falcons (8-5) win out in their last three games -- beginning with Monday night's visit to Raymond James Stadium against the slumping Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) -- they will win the NFC South title.
Atlanta, which resides one game behind the New Orleans Saints (9-4) and the Carolina Panthers (9-4) in the NFC South standings, put itself in striking position by winning four of its last five games. It currently projects as the NFC's No. 6-seeded playoff team.
After Monday night's trip to Tampa Bay, the Falcons finish at New Orleans, then at home against Carolina.
First things first, though.
The Falcons are receiving extra rest after defeating the Saints 20-17 last Thursday before heading into Monday night's game. They already own a 34-20 home victory on Nov. 26 against the Bucs, who were playing their third consecutive game without injured quarterback Jameis Winston.
Winston has returned to the lineup for battered Tampa Bay, which is expected to be without star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy after he suffered a biceps injury last Sunday in a 24-21 defeat against the Detroit Lions.
Overall, the Bucs have been one of the NFL's biggest disappointments while failing to build upon last season's 9-7 mark despite the acquisition of wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Still, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn is wary.
The Falcons were explosive in the previous meeting against the Bucs. Quarterback Matt Ryan was 26 of 35 for 317 yards while receiver Julio Jones had 12 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Atlanta has done a superb job of that in the last month. Overall, the season has been schizophrenic with a 3-0 start, followed by three consecutive losses, then a protracted battle back into postseason contention.
At the same time, the Falcons know this isn't a time for slippage. They have to remain on an upward trajectory, especially while finishing with three consecutive division foes.
The Bucs, though, have been laboring down the stretch.
Tampa Bay's defense has struggled on the pass rush all season and ranks 32nd in the NFL with 17 sacks. McCoy leads the Bucs with five sacks.
Atlanta's defense, which held the Saints to 306 yards (just 50 rushing), will pose a challenge for Tampa Bay's mistake-prone offense.
The Bucs had five turnovers against the Lions last week, including three by Winston (two interceptions, one lost fumble). Winston, a third-year player who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, has 53 turnovers in 42 NFL games. The Bucs are 1-10 in games in which Winston throws multiple interceptions.
As if a shoulder injury and an investigation into whether he groped a female Uber driver wasn't enough, now there is a new distraction surrounding Winston.
Sunday, a few hours before the Bucs kicked off against the Lions, NFL.com released a report that stated the relationship between Winston and Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter was "not in a good place."
The report said Winston didn't feel Koetter supported him properly when the player was recovering from his shoulder injury, while also claiming he was unhappy with the predictability and ineffectiveness of Tampa Bay's offense.
After the game, Koetter and Winston denied any rift.
Koetter continued to refute the report on Monday, saying any unhappiness over Tampa Bay's offense is shared by everyone in the organization.
Now the Bucs, who had aspirations to reach the franchise's first playoff game since 2007, find themselves at the bottom of the NFC South standings, looking up at their three division opponents.
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers VDB Sport Betting Odds and Predictions
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Odds
|Atlanta Falcons||-7 (EVEN)||-300||48½ (-110)o|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+7 (-120)||+250||48½ (-110)u|
Vegas Daily Betting Free Prediction: Atlanta Falcons -7 and Over/Under 48½
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers VDB Sport Betting Matchup Report
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
Betting Odds Trends
|Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Atlanta's last 10 games|
|Atlanta is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games on the road|
|Atlanta is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road|
|Atlanta is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road|
|Atlanta is 12-6 SU in its last 18 games when playing Tampa Bay|
|The total has gone OVER in 6 of Atlanta's last 9 games when playing Tampa Bay|
|Atlanta is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 6 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay|
|Tampa Bay is 2-9-1 ATS in its last 12 games|
|Tampa Bay is 2-8 SU in its last 10 games|
|Tampa Bay is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home|
|Tampa Bay is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Tampa Bay's last 9 games at home|
|Tampa Bay is 6-12 SU in its last 18 games when playing Atlanta|
|The total has gone OVER in 6 of Tampa Bay's last 9 games when playing Atlanta|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay's last 6 games when playing at home against Atlanta|
|Mohamed Sanu||WR||Prob Mon - Knee - 12/14/17||Sanu is expected to play Monday against the Buccaneers despite a knee injury.|
|Adrian Clayborn||DE||Ques Mon - Hamstring - 12/14/17||Clayborn has a hamstring injury and it is unclear if he will play against the Buccaneers on Monday.|
|Wes Schweitzer||G||Ques Mon - Groin - 12/14/17||Schweitzer is dealing with a groin injury and it is unknown if he will suit up Monday against the Buccaneers.|
|Eric Saubert||TE||Ques Mon - Back - 12/12/17||Saubert was held out of the previous game due to a back injury and it is uncertain if he will suit up against the Buccaneers on Monday.|
|Sean Weatherspoon||LB||Ques Mon - Illness - 12/12/17||Weatherspoon has missed the previous two games while dealing with an illness and it is unclear if he will play Monday against the Buccaneers.|
|Andy Levitre||G||Ques Mon - Tricep - 12/12/17||Levitre sat out the last game due to a partially torn triceps and it is unknown if he will be available against the Buccaneers on Monday.|
|Tevin Coleman||RB||Out Mon - Concussion - 12/16/17||Coleman is working his way through concussion protocol and will not play in Monday's game against the Buccaneers.|
|Jordan Tripp||LB||Ques Week 17 - Concussion - 10/31/17||Tripp has landed on injured reserve due to a concussion and it is unclear if he will be activated in time for Week 17 against the Panthers.|
|Jack Crawford||DE||I-R - Bicep - 10/3/17||Crawford tore his biceps and is on the injured reserve list.|
|Quincy Mauger||S||I-R - Knee - 12/7/17||Mauger has been placed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.|
|T.J. Ward||S||Prob Mon - Concussion - 12/16/17||Ward has sat out the previous two games with a concussion but has cleared protocol and is expected to play in Monday's matchup against the Falcons.|
|J.R. Sweezy||G||Ques Mon - Shin - 12/14/17||Sweezy is dealing with an injured shin and it is unknown if he will play Monday against the Falcons.|
|Cameron Brate||TE||Ques Mon - Hip - 12/14/17||Brate is nursing a hip injury and it is uncertain if he will play against the Falcons on Monday.|
|Donovan Smith||T||Ques Mon - Shoulder - 12/14/17||Smith is bothered by a shoulder injury and it is undetermined if it will obstruct his availability against the Falcons on Monday.|
|Joe Hawley||C||Ques Mon - Illness - 12/12/17||Hawley sat out the previous game with an illness and it is unclear if it will hinder his availability against the Falcons on Monday.|
|Clinton McDonald||DT||Ques Mon - Back - 12/12/17||McDonald missed his second-straight game with a back injury and it is uncertain if he will be active Monday against the Falcons.|
|Josh Robinson||CB||Ques Mon - Hamstring - 12/12/17||Robinson has been held out of the previous two games with a hamstring injury and it is undetermined if he will suit up against the Falcons on Monday.|
|Lavonte David||LB||Out Mon - Hamstring - 12/16/17||David has a hamstring injury and will not suit up Monday against the Falcons.|
|Gerald McCoy||DT||Out Mon - Bicep - 12/16/17||McCoy suffered a right biceps injury and will not be available Monday against the Falcons.|
|Vernon Hargreaves||CB||Out Mon - Hamstring - 12/16/17||Hargreaves missed his fourth-consecutive game due to a hamstring injury and will not return to the lineup Monday against the Falcons.|
|Demar Dotson||T||I-R - Knee - 11/29/17||Dotson has been placed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.|
|Ali Marpet||C||I-R - Knee - 11/29/17||Marpet injured his knee and has landed on the injured reserve list.|
|Noah Spence||DE||I-R - Shoulder - 10/25/17||Spence is on injured reserve due to a torn labrum in his shoulder.|
|Nick Folk||K||I-R - Leg - 10/9/17||Folk has been placed on the injured reserve list due to tendinitis in his plant leg.|
|DaVonte Lambert||DL||I-R - Wrist - 9/1/17||Lambert has been placed on the injured reserve with a dislocated wrist.|
|Stevie Tu'ikolovatu||DT||I-R - Knee - 9/1/17||Tu'ikolovatu has been placed on the injured reserve with an injured MCL and meniscus in his right knee.|
|Justin Trattou||DE||I-R - Undisclosed - 8/28/17||Trattou has landed on the injured reserve list with an unspecified ailment.|
|11/26/17||TB (20) - ATL (34)||-10.5/47||ATL/O||516||148||368||373||94||279|
|11/3/16||ATL (43) - TB (28)||4.5/49||ATL/O||461||136||325||396||70||326|
|9/11/16||TB (31) - ATL (24)||-2.5/46.5||TB/O||374||52||322||371||90||281|
|12/6/15||ATL (19) - TB (23)||-1/46.5||TB/U||319||64||255||388||166||222|
|11/1/15||TB (23) - ATL (20)||-8/47.5||TB/U||496||101||395||290||117||173|
|11/9/14||ATL (27) - TB (17)||3.5/47||ATL/U||322||110||212||373||92||281|
|9/18/14||TB (14) - ATL (56)||-6.5/47||ATL/O||488||144||344||217||64||153|
|11/17/13||ATL (28) - TB (41)||-1/43.5||TB/O||420||152||268||410||186||224|
|10/20/13||TB (23) - ATL (31)||-6/43||ATL/O||291||18||273||337||111||226|
|12/30/12||TB (22) - ATL (17)||-3/46||TB/U||278||65||213||366||144||222|
Atlanta Last 10
|11/20/17||@ SEA||W 34-31||-1/46||W/O||-81||-47||-34||-0.6||-2.9||1.8|
|11/5/17||@ CAR||L 17-20||-3/42||L/U||25||-148||173||1.0||-2.3||2.6|
|10/29/17||@ NYJ||W 25-20||-6.5/43.5||L/O||107||97||10||1.3||2.4||1.3|
|10/22/17||@ NE||L 7-23||3/56.5||L/U||-60||-42||-18||0.0||1.0||-1.6|
Tampa Bay Last 10
|12/3/17||@ GB||L 20-26||3/45||L/O||119||-34||153||0.5||-2.1||3.7|
|11/26/17||@ ATL||L 20-34||10.5/47||L/O||-143||-54||-89||-2.5||-1.2||-3.9|
|11/19/17||@ MIA||W 30-20||-1/44||W/O||-127||-30||-97||-2.3||-2.2||-1.9|
|11/5/17||@ NO||L 10-30||7/54||L/U||-207||-64||-143||-3.1||-1.2||-5.4|
|10/22/17||@ BUF||L 27-30||3/46.5||P/O||13||-104||117||-0.1||-2.5||0.7|
|10/15/17||@ ARI||L 33-38||-2.5/46.5||L/O||-18||-90||72||-0.9||-1.1||-4.2|