June 16, 2024


The Atlanta Falcons are on the cusp of making the playoffs for the first time in six years, with a chance to win the division for the first time since 2016. 

But with a 6-6 record, the NFC South is anyone’s for the taking. Veteran punter Bradley Pinion believes the Falcons are prime for that opportunity. 

Bradley Pinion punts the ball

Bradley Pinion #13 of the Atlanta Falcons during the game against the New York Jets on December 3, 2023 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.   (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“When I was in Tampa, we had a pretty good grip on it — it was either us or the Saints, and it’s there for the taking right now,” Pinion, who won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers during the 2020 season, told Fox News Digital. 

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“Every team’s good, every NFL team is good. It kind of ebbs and flows for every division, every few years, honestly. So it’s there for the taking, and we’re ready to strike while the iron is hot.”

The Falcons lead the NFC South as they prepare for a massive divisional match up against the Bucs on Sunday. Atlanta is also chasing their first three-game win streak since 2019, which began with a win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 12 and a narrow victory over the New York Jets. 

“I believe in this team,” Pinion continued. “I believe this team is good enough to win a Super Bowl. Whether we have growing pains to get through, to get there or what it might be, but it’s really there for the taking. And I like our outlook on it.”

Bradley Pinion reacts to a touchdown

Bradley Pinion #13 of the Atlanta Falcons and Younghoe Koo #7 of the Atlanta Falcons react while coming onto the field after the Falcons scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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The Falcons’ final five games of the season will all be crucial to their path to the playoffs. Three of the five are division games, including Sunday’s against the Bucs, who are still working towards claiming the NFC South for the third consecutive season. 

The Bucs are coming off just their second win in the last eight games, but the implications of a win on Sunday will ensure a tough match up. 

But Pinion believes the Falcons are well-equipped. 

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“We have a great team. We have great leaders, great coaches, and we really just attack it day-by-day. We go out there and try to be the best we can each day. And we really just want to get a little bit better each day.” 

Bradley Pinion warms up

Bradley Pinion #13 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Falcons 28-23.  (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

“This team’s headed in the right direction,” Pinion continued. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that are really talented, got the right leaders in here… I don’t want to speak too far out, but I think it’s starting to click a little bit and I’m excited to see what this team can do. I’m excited to see the run that we could make if we played to our abilities. And it’s just an exciting time to be a Falcon, I can tell you that.”  

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Earlier this week, Pinion was named the Falcons 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year because of his initiative “Punts for Purpose,” which aims to support child survival centers in the developing world.  

“It’s a huge honor and I’m very humbled to be selected. Something that you don’t take lightly,” Pinion said. 

Bradley Pinion at an international NFL game

Atlanta Falcons’ Bradley Pinion during the NFL International match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday October 1, 2023. (Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty ImageS)

“And it’s one of those things that you just – I’ve said it a few times already, but you don’t set out to win. You just kind of set out to use the platform that God’s given you to the best way possible and this is a byproduct of it. It’s one of those – I’d call it kind of the best award in football, honestly, because it’s not always about the play on the field, but what you use your platform for. And this kind of embodies that. So it’s a huge honor. And I’m just proud to represent the Falcons as a nominee this year.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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