The Atlanta Falcons first game of the season is right around the corner. In fact, this is the longest they’ll have to prepare for a single team, considering the NFL schedule was released back in April.
And sure, roster cuts and injuries happen but you have an idea of the key players that’ll be around come week one But this match up with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday provides something the Atlanta Falcons don’t get too much of this season.
A road game, with a formidable NFC team. Not only is it the first game of the season, but it’s a rare chance for Atlanta to test its road mentality at a possible playoff game location.
The Vikings are a combined 12-4 a home over the past two seasons. They went 7-1 two years ago before slipping to 5-3 last year.
This team should contend for the division crown, but anything short of the number one seed, you’re almost guaranteed a game on the road in January.
And while they’re professionals, when you have an experience to look back on come playoff time, that only helps. Knowing you went into a hostile environment, on week one, and earned a victory goes farther than just a 1-0 start.
It proves this team has what it takes to win statement games. This isn’t college football. There is no such thing as an easy week in the NFL. You know the sayings “any given Sunday”, “that’s why we play the game.” Because in any week, a team can win.
Remember the 2008 Cleveland Browns? Who went 4-12 that year but beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants? Yea. Stuff happens.
The Falcons need this win. Sure, an 0-1 start doesn’t derail the season but a fast start is necessary. Winning is as contagious as a common cold but so is losing.
And there are too many questions surrounding the Falcons to risk getting off to a shaky start. (Where’s Julio’s contract? Is Dan Quinn on the hot seat? Why in the world do they have six running backs?)
With the limited chances to show NFC foes that their offense can and will travel, and the defense can put up a solid performance on the road, the Falcons better come out firing.
Because like life, nothing is the NFL is given. Especially winning games on the road.