The Atlanta Falcons enter Week 3 looking for their first win. Not to be an alarmist, but if they don’t win against the New York Giants on Sunday, the hopes of a good season will be all but over. Teams that start 0-3 have a less than five percent chance of making the playoffs.
Missing the playoffs would be the worse possible result for a new head coach and new general manager. It’s not that long ago both men denied the team is rebuilding and claimed this is a “win now” team. Not only are the odds of being a playoff team sliding, but the Falcons are also the underdogs against a winless Giants team.
Arthur Smith addressed his team’s mindset, “you got to get your first win, that is stating the obvious, right. It’s such a long season. Think about it. We have 15 games left.” It’s the same message the Falcons put on social media earlier this week.
However, the coach is starting to show some signs of urgency. “We got to go get a win. You don’t want to sit here on Monday and say we are close, this and that, we need to breakthrough.”
Matt Ryan echoed Smiths’ comments, “that’s the mindset that guys need to have – this is the most important game we’re ever going to play.” The quarterback sees every game that way and wants his team to have that mentality, “I think it has gotten better. We have a long way to go. But that’s the kind of mindset we have to have every week and have that intensity and urgency to go out there and get the job done.”
Ryan is correct. There was a drastic improvement between the first and second week. While the record and the scores certainly don’t show it, the Falcons are trending up. In week one, the team that lost 32-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles would not have stood a chance against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Atlanta gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a scare and pulled to within three points in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the bounces, deflections, and everything else went against the Falcons after that resulting in a 48-25 final score.
Smith is not throwing in the towel. Instead, he is preaching patience and believes he is seeing progress, “teams that improve, that are in it, they are the ones that play in January.”
January is a long way off, but it will be here in no time. The Falcons are on the clock to turn this season around. If they don’t this week, it will indeed be a rebuilding season.