Another week, another Falcons loss.
Falling by one point to the Packers at Lambeau Field, even with Matt Flynn as the opposing quarterback, is not entirely embarrassing. At the same time, it marks the first time Atlanta has posted double-digit losses in a season since 2007. What a futile year of football.
The silver lining, of course, is that fun little event in April in which the Falcons can grab some stud college player and begin to rebuild this team. And with the way things have unfolded through the early Sunday games, they now have an even better shot at landing Jadeveon Clowney (or whoever Thomas Dimitroff wants) with a top-3 pick.
The projected order, as of week 14:
1. Houston Texans (2-11)
SoS = .550
2. St. Louis Rams, via Washington Redskins (3-10)
SoS = .515
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-10)
SoS = .553
4. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)
SoS = .535
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
SoS = .495
6. Cleveland Browns (4-9)
SoS = .510
7. Oakland Raiders (4-9)
SoS = .512
8. Buffalo Bills (4-9)
SoS = .529
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
SoS = .570
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)
SoS = .488
The Texans, of course, lost to the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football and have first rights to Teddy Bridgewater on lock-down. Poor Matt Schaub.
The hapless Washington Dan Snyders, meanwhile, were blown out 45-10 by the Chiefs at home, effectively emptying the stadium by the third quarter. They've got a ton of issues, from management to the locker to actual on-field performance, and (more importantly) they hold the strength of schedule advantage over the Falcons.
All of this makes next week's Falcons-Redskins home game crucial in determining where the Falcons end up picking in the draft. A loss, however ugly losing to Robert Griffin III might sound, would have Atlanta looking at No. 2 and sitting pretty at the top
But should Atlanta win (and let's face it: Washington is bad), the team could wind up falling anywhere from a couple to several spots, though it would entirely depend on what teams like Jacksonville, Cleveland, Minnesota and Oakland end up doing next week.
And so here are a few games that will end up having an impact on how everything plays out as these teams continue jockeying for draft position:
Bills vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
Eagles vs. Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
49ers vs. Buccaneers (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
Bears vs. Browns (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
Chiefs vs. Raiders (Sunday, 4 p.m.)
Looking at that list, the odds of Atlanta winning and not free-falling out of the top five look a bit better. The Raiders almost certainly lose to the Chiefs. Either the Jaguars or Bills will end up losing. And the Eagles just won in a snowstorm, so that has to count for something.
In the meantime, make yourselves a drink or two, Falcons fans. It's a long wait until April.