Bye Week Came at the Perfect Time for Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Falcons bye week came at a perfect time for the team.

When the schedule was originally released for the Atlanta Falcons a few months ago, the team’s players and coaching staff probably internally cringed at the sight of a Week 5 bye week.

Having a late bye week is somewhat of an advantage for an NFL team going through the grind of a season.

Now that we’ve made it through Week 5 however, it’s clear that the early bye came at an opportune time for Atlanta.

The benefits of the late bye week aren’t hard to see. It gives an NFL team a chance to recharge its batteries following 9, 10 or 11 straight games to open the season, ahead of a potential playoff run.

The Falcons themselves parlayed a Week 11 bye week into an undefeated stretch to the end the regular season and a playoff run last year.

An early bye week on the other hand assures that a team will have to play up to 12 straight weeks to close out the season, in addition to the playoffs if that team makes it and isn’t one of the conference’s top 2 seeds.

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Worse yet for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins this year, who had their season opener against each other postponed due to Hurricane Irma, they have to play all 16 straight regular season weeks due to those unforeseen circumstances.

The early bye week can also be a momentum killer for a team which gets off to a hot start. One is reminded of last year’s Philadelphia Eagles, who had a 3-0 record heading into their Week 4 bye before they lost four of five games coming out of the rest week, and ultimately ended the season with a 6-10 record.

There’s maybe only two separate circumstances where having an early bye week is preferable for an NFL team — when it suffers many early season injuries, and when it’s out of rhythm to begin the season.

The Atlanta Falcons check both of those boxes.

Injuries: The Falcons have been absolutely ravaged by early season injuries this year. It started when right tackle Ryan Schrader went down to a concussion early on in the week 2 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

That was immediately a bit of a shock to a team whose offensive line had started every game together last season. Schrader’s replacement, Ty Sambrailo, has struggled mightily in his absence.

Star pass rusher Vic Beasley Jr. went down to a slightly torn hamstring that same night, while rotational D-Lineman Courtney Upshaw completed the list of Week 2’s casualties.

In Week 3, starting free safety Ricardo Allen was lost to a concussion and all-world WR Julio Jones hurt his back near the end of the game.

One week later against the Buffalo Bills, Julio Jones exited the game early because of a hip injury. To make matters worse, other Falcons starting WR Mohamed Sanu had to leave because of a hamstring injury.

The week off has been an absolute breath of fresh air for the Falcons on the injury front.

Ryan Schrader and Ricardo Allen have cleared concussion protocol and will be back in the lineup on Sunday.

Courtney Upshaw has a chance to return.

Julio Jones was never expected to miss playing time due to the bye.

The only Falcons on that list of injuries who will definitively miss Sunday’s game will be Mohamed Sanu and Vic Beasley, but the week off was no doubt beneficial to them as well.

Beasley is expected to be back for the week 7 clash against the Patriots.

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  • Rhythm: Don’t let the 3-1 record or the 26 points per game fool you, the Atlanta Falcons’ offense has been by no means in rhythm.

    The Falcons are currently ranked 19th in the NFL in total offense and, injuries aside, QB Matt Ryan has not looked close to being the same QB who won MVP last season.

    Ryan has already thrown 5 interceptions this season, two were due to blatant drops, but the other three were the result of some poor decision making.

    He had 6 pics all of last year. Ryan has also only broken the 300-yard mark once this season, against the Chicago Bears.

    Speaking of the Bears, they’re currently a 1-4 team who was on the doorstep of knocking Atlanta off in the season opener.

    The Falcons then needed a goal line stand from the 1-yard line to knock off the Detroit Lions in a Week 3 meeting to pull out the victory in that game.

    And let’s not forget the game they did lose to the Buffalo Bills before the bye week. It has been the Atlanta defense, ranked 4th in the NFL thus far, which has been grinding out victories this year.

    Make no mistake about it, the Falcons have not been invincible thus far this season.

    In fact, they were a couple of goal line stands away from being 1-3 heading into the bye, and had that been the case we would be having a completely different conversion right now.

    Atlanta’s -4 turnover margin is good for fifth worst in the NFL. That must change if the birds want to make noise deep into January once again this season.

    While the early bye week served as a shot in the foot for the Eagles, who were humming early on, last year, taking them out of their rhythm, it should serve as a shot in the arm for Atlanta’s struggling offense this year.

    Next: Time for the Atlanta Falcons to Hit the Reset Button

    With injuries and questionable rhythm rearing their ugly heads early in the campaign, the early bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Atlanta Falcons.