The Falcons will travel to Toronto to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Prior to the season, looking at both teams' recent histories, this game looked like a pretty easy win. Now the Falcons are 2-9, and the Bills are 4-7. That's not a great record, but they have twice as many wins as the Falcons.
A win for Atlanta on Sunday seems unlikely. Buffalo leads the league in sacks this season with 37, which is terrible news for Atlanta, whose pass protection has been abysmally poor. Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel has battled a knee injury this season, but it seems like he's fully healthy. The Bills have big play potential with some speedy receivers, Marquise Goodman and T.J. Graham, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak, and the Falcons struggle with giving up big plays.
The Falcons have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so there's not much to play for at this point aside from pride. Nevertheless, the Falcons need to win on Sunday.
1. Falcons are undefeated on foreign soil.
First of all, Sunday's game will be played in Toronto, and the Falcons have never lost on foreign soil in franchise history. Sure, they've never played a regular season game outside of the U.S., but the Falcons did defeat the Dallas Cowboys in 2000, and the Indianapolis Colts in 2005, in preseason action in Tokyo, Japan. With a matchup against the Detroit Lions in London's Wembley Stadium looming in 2014, now is not the time to start losing on foreign soil. The Falcons need to keep their international winning streak alive
2. Falcons had additional time to prepare.
The Falcons are coming off of a long week after a Thursday night loss to the Saints, and have had plenty of time to prepare for the Bills. It's almost like a mini-bye week. The Falcons should be rested, a little healthier, and very well-prepared to take on the Bills. In the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era, the Falcons are 6-3 with extra time to prepare, including games after the bye week, and games after a Thursday Night Football matchup.
3. I'm tired of losing.
Seriously, I'm just tired of losing. I know many readers and fans are rooting for the team to tank for a higher draft pick, and I understand where they are coming from, but I just don't have that in me. The reality is, this Falcons team is not likely to win many more games this season, because of injuries, the weaknesses of the offensive line, and strength of schedule. Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Minnesota appear to still be playing to win regardless of their record, and it's reasonable, given the way the Falcons have performed this season, to think that they don't really need much help to land a pick in the top five of the 2014 NFL Draft. I'm tired of losing. The Falcons need to win.
What are your reasons that the Falcons need to win on Sunday?