I already ranted about how my Falcons shit the bed days ago. We just have to (Hopefully) learn from our mistakes and move on.
Now we fly to the West Coast in what is almost a must-win game. Almost 90% of all 0-2 teams miss the playoffs. Granted, that’s largely because most 0-2 teams never play any better. And I’m aware that there were two teams that came back from that last season. Seattle went 0-2 and still had a losing record after Week 10 with three playoff teams still on their schedule. Kansas City reached 1-5 with the Steelers and Broncos right in front of them. Both appeared in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
But the odds that we’ll repeat that are microscopic. After a psychologically devastating 0-2 start, we’ll have a Saints team that swept us last year, Carolina, Denver and Seattle. The Packers, Cardinals, and Chiefs lie further ahead. If we can win over the Oakland Raiders, it may give us a morale booster that we’ll need going forward.
Defensively, this Oakland team is not living up to the hype. Allowing 34 points and well over 400 yards to Drew Brees does not exactly impress me. As little success as we’ve had against him, we have very rarely made him look that good. But Derek Carr is pretty much the man. So I wouldn’t blame you for predicting a high-scoring yet one-sided game in Oakland (38-23, Raiders).
This begs the question of whether Arthur Blank should just fire everybody but a select few and rebuild anew if not tank the season for the front seven and possibly a new quarterback. Watching the team implode over the last three years has made some fans hope for this option. “The Braves are doing it, and they’re predicted a much brighter future,” some argue. Indeed, their farm system is viewed by many as one of the best in baseball. But the Falcons are not the Braves. They may have many of the same fans, but that doesn’t change the fact that the farm systems of MLB make that a false comparison. Moreover, because the NFL is such a cash cow, players are paid too highly for rebuilds/tanks to work unless a team just needs a quarterback. Too much wasted money.
Now that I’ve established that we have to win this game, I must regretfully reiterate that as things stand, we’re looking to lose. Barring changes, the only chance I see us having is if this is a shootout. They can’t make a stop for three quarters, we can’t make a stop for three quarters, and hopefully our defense rebounds in the fourth quarter again to force a field goal or two so we win 42-38
A more reliable strategy? See if you can clean up the mistakes. No clumsy penalties, execute in the red zone, and have the defense start where it finished last week by covering receivers properly and getting to Carr. Yeah, that’s hoping for a lot, but maybe our backs being against the wall will wake the players up. If not, we’re staring at 4-12!