The Atlanta Falcons were able to win a critical game in their young season, the difference between 1-2 and 0-3 is huge. They have a chance to get to a .500 record on the season if they beat Washington, which puts them right back in the mix of everything.
A crazy fact is that the Falcons have the same record as the Kansas City Chiefs. No one is pushing the Chiefs under the rug saying they cannot make the playoffs. Atlanta certainly does not have the team that Kansas City has, but on the surface, this is a fact.
The Falcons schedule sets up favorably going forward, providing a path to playoffs.
Atlanta is not a good team yet, and who knows maybe they continue their poor play on offense, but the only thing that matters right now is giving yourself a chance — something they did on Sunday.
The remaining portion of Atlanta’s schedule is not difficult at all. The team will no doubt need to improve to consistently win games, but it is not like they have to be the top team in the league to win.
Obviously, the Falcons will need to play five more divisional games — one against Tampa Bay, two against New Orleans, and two against Carolina.
Clearly out of those three teams, the Buccaneers are the most difficult. Atlanta showed that they can hang with them for at least half of the game, but you never know what the final score of a divisional game will be.
The other four divisional games are winnable for Atlanta.
New Orleans has been inconsistent and has a quarterback who can throw away a game with the best of them, while Carolina — who may be 3-0 on the year — is a young team who has not proven anything this season. They have played the Jets, Texans, and Saints who are anything but elite teams.
For the rest of the games for the Falcons, one is against an elite team, one against a good team, four against mediocre teams, and three against the worst teams in football.
Starting with the top two teams — Buffalo and Dallas — the Bills will be the most difficult matchup for two reasons, the first being that they are simply one of the top teams in the NFL. They have an elite offense and defense, as such, they are one of the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The second reason is that the Falcons have to travel to Buffalo in January, meaning cold weather and possibly snow. Not something that players from Atlanta will be used to.
For Dallas, they are a team that Atlanta does not match up well with. The Falcons are so thin at defensive back while the Cowboys have no shortage of receivers that could abuse Atlanta’s secondary. If the Falcons can somehow win this game, it will be because they have the ball last and score last.
Now for the best part of the schedule — the not-so-great teams.
The Falcons will take on Washington, New England, Miami, and San Francisco. All of these teams have shown that they can play great, or just the opposite, not much else to it. None of these games are ones that the Falcons are totally overmatched for. While it might be scary to take on Washington on Sunday with their deadly defensive line, they still struggle as they have given up 71-points in their last two games.
Moving on to the games that the Atlanta Falcons have zero excuses to lose, games against three of the worst teams in football, if not the three worst teams — the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets, and the Detroit Lions.
Those three teams have yet to win a single game, they are absolute messes. Jacksonville has had some highlight plays but none that help provide a win, the Lions find a new way to lose seemingly every week, and the Jets have been one of the worst teams in NFL history so far.
So if you think there is no hope for Atlanta, think again. The schedule gives promise to a team that has struggled, moving forward they can put all that behind them to win enough games to make the postseason.
Say it’s crazy, but things are not as bad going forward as some might believe.