Their greatest opponent so happens to be themselves.
The 2017 season has been clear evidence of that. From butt interceptions thanks to lack of concentration on textbook catches to fumbles after a momentum-swinging interception, the Falcons are their greatest enemy at this point. Now the team is staring at a "win and you're in" scenario against the Carolina Panthers in the season finale on Sunday. While their playoff hopes still have life, the Falcons biggest roadblock could be the same guys they stare at in the mirror on a daily basis.
The loss to the Saints is not as devastating as some make it out to be. If there was an "affordable loss" remaining on the schedule, this was it. Now Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and the staff has to instill within the team that all is not lost. The "embrace the suck" mantra that was birthed during the offseason is no longer bulletin board material. What it is now is something that the team must live by from here on out, especially if a playoff run is still in their future.
According to the stat sheet, the Falcons outperformed the Saints in a few categories. From total yardage (331 to 315) to yards per play (5.4 to 5.2), as well as yards per rush (as funny as it may seem, 3.3 to 2.8). Yet, the disappointment was laid out early and pretty much set the table for a loss that the Falcons easily could have won. The simple mistakes continued to pile up and eventually led to their sixth, and hopefully last, loss of the season.
Not to mention there were a few referees that we will keep anonymous that made things a little more difficult than normal but that is a different conversation for a different day.
Over the years, the Falcons losses has been filled with mind-boggling, incomprehensible occurrences that rarely happen in the NFL. A butt interception is a play we may never witness ever again. Having the offense face a 1st-and-40 is incredibly laughable and something that can very well be "C'mon Man" material on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown.
For many Falcons fans, it is severely frustrating watching the team fail to step up to the plate when the situation arises. The Saints contest was never a game in which the Falcons were facing an opponent where the talent was overwhelming. But what transpired was a team that once again dropped a prime opportunity that was manageable. While this team is talented from front to back, facing two opponents on game day will result in catastrophic discouragement 10 times out of 10. The Falcons must learn that beating themselves always makes life that much easier for the team lined across from them.