Undefeated through five games for the first time in team history, you can't help but wonder what it will take for the Atlanta Falcons to run the table. But which teams stand in the way of a perfect 16-0 regular season?
The Falcons face three teams that made the playoffs last season, including two games versus the New Orleans Saints, and one each against the Detroit Lions and the New York Giants. However, those are not the only tough matchups that lurk ahead..
Here are the four teams that have the best shot at ending Atlanta's pursuit of a perfect season.
Unless they are upset by the Oakland Raiders in Week 6, the Falcons will visit Lincoln Financial Field 6-0 following a bye week. A nice place to be, without question.
However, the Eagles are 7-2 against the Falcons in the last 10 years, including two wins in the playoffs, most notably, the 2005 NFC Championship game.
Over the last decade the Eagles have been the more physical team while the Falcons have relied on finesse and speed. This year, however, Atlanta's pass defense has intimidated teams with its hard hitting defensive backs and unforgiving coverage. Still, the run defense is giving up over 140 yards a game.
Outlook: If Michael Vick can protect the ball—and that's a big if—this game could be trouble for the Falcons porous run defense.
The Falcons have not beaten the Cowboys since 2003, with Dallas taking the last two matchups.
At home, against an unpredictable Dallas team, the Falcons should be in a good position to take care of business. However, the Cowboys seem to relish the role of underdog and have a knack for winning games they're not expected to.
Outlook: The Cowboys, when they're hot, can beat any team in the league. But if they go into this game cold, the Falcons should handle them at home.
The Falcons visit the not-so-friendly confines of the Superdome in Week 10.
One of the greatest rivalries in the NFL, Saints versus Falcons is often a close matchup. Atlanta has won only twice in New Orleans over the past decade, and have lost 10 of 12 overall in the last six years.
But until last season's Saints blowout, four straight games were decided by one touchdown or less.
If the Saints keep up their winning ways after a breakout performance against San Diego in Week 5, they'll be shooting for four straight and a .500 record when the Falcons come to town in the second week of November.
Outlook: Whether the Saints are vying for .500 or simply playing spoiler, they always play Atlanta tough. This could be Atlanta's biggest challenge to date.
The Falcons welcome the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants a week before Christmas. We all know what they want for an early gift: revenge for last year's 24-2 loss and victory No. 14 should they arrive here undefeated.
Without a doubt, Matt Ryan and the gang will be pumped up for this match. However, it's possible they could be "too up."
The Giants have won four straight against Atlanta, including last year's playoff victory. Plus, Tom Coughlin is a master at keeping his team on an even keel late in the season. His coaching acumen could be a game-breaker.
Outlook: Atlanta puts the ghost of playoffs past to bed here, handling the Giants and looking forward to running the table.