Door now open for the Atlanta Falcons to face Deshaun Watson in week four

It appeared as if the Atlanta Falcons would be playing quarterback Jacoby Brissett when they face the Cleveland Browns in week four. Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games by the third-party arbitrator that the NFL PA and the NFL both agreed on lining up Watson to miss the week four matchup.

This suspension would have kept Watson out through week six and given Atlanta a much better shot at picking up what would still be an upset win in week four. The NFL’s decision to appeal the suspension has changed the outlook completely and now opens the door for Atlanta to face Watson in week four.

Now with the NFL appealing the process, it will be the NFL that decides Watson’s suspension and not a third-party arbitrator as originally agreed. With the NFL now in control of its own appeal, it would be shocking if the suspension isn’t changed substantially.

If that is the case Watson has the legal ability to appeal and file against the NFL effectively letting him potentially play from week one throughout the season as he fights the league in court. This is obviously not a winning strategy but a temporary means to buy time and allow Watson to start from week one potentially.

This is the path Tom Brady followed after the league suspended the quarterback for his team not using footballs inflated to regulation. Brady fought the league in court and started a season before ultimately accepting his suspension the next year and ironically opening the door for Jacoby Brissett to get his first start following an injury to Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

Watson could follow a similar path and end up facing the Carolina Panthers in week one and starting against Atlanta when the two teams match up in week four.  Until the suspension is handed down and Watson’s camp responds all of this is simply speculation on what the response could be. With the most likely outcome being the Falcons end up having to face Watson in week four as the league goes through the legal process to lock in Watson’s pending suspension.