4th Quarter of the Season
Week 14. Atlanta Falcons at the Green Bay Packers
Going into this season, the Green Bay Packers are a team that seems to be quite average despite having a future Hall of Fame quarterback leading the team. In the offseason, the Packers were able to open their wallets for the first time in several seasons and upgraded the tight end and linebacker positions. That said, the Falcons offensive line will dominate against the Packers weak defensive line and open up holes all game for Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman to rush through. Expect this to be a dominating performance by the Falcons.
Week 15. Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals
When Carson Palmer suited up for the Cardinals, Arizona had a scary offense. Now, Palmer is a former NFL player and the oft-injured Sam Bradford will likely be the Week 1 starter. How long Bradford keeps his job is anyone’s guess. Arizona did draft UCLA’s prolific passer Josh Rosen in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The early returns from Cardinals players are that Rosen is the real deal and is a threat to steal the job from Bradford early in the season if not outright. While neither quarterback should strike fear into the heart of Falcons fans, in the future Rosen and wide receiver Christian Kirk could be a deadly combination that will haunt the Falcons in the playoffs for years to come.
Week 16. Atlanta Falcons at the Carolina Panthers
This Week 16 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons will be a critical game for the Panthers coaching staff. If star quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t adjusted to the new offense and the sluggish Panthers are lacking in the win column, a loss in this game could be the final straw for this coaching staff. I expect this game to be more emotionally charged than a normal divisional game. As a result, I see plenty of three and outs for both teams and points will be held to a minimum.
Week 17. Atlanta Falcons at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I have a feeling that this game against the Atlanta Falcons will be counted as one of the biggest games in Jameis Winston’s NFL career. This writer is predicting a bad season from Tampa Bay and projects that unless the Buccaneers “potential,” that other NFL talking heads love to profess, turns into actual results on the field that head coach Dirk Koetter will be fired and former first overall pick Jamies Winston will be benched, traded, or cut prior to the start of the 2019 season.
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If Winston has a rocky year post his early-season suspension, a late-season win against a divisional rival who is also a playoff team would help soothe the Buccaneers fan base.
Therefore, after the Falcons already having played a long, physical game last week against the Carolina Panthers (who similarly to Tampa Bay are attempting to see if their starting quarterback’s warts can be minimized) could very well drop this game against the Buccaneers.
Outside of bragging rights, this game could largely be irrelevant for the Falcons if they have either locked up a first or second seed going into the playoffs or have locked up a playoff berth but are unable to get a first-round bye even if they were to win this game.
All things considered, I’m projecting a Falcons loss.