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Is this Falcons season lost? Our roundtable weighs in

We’re not saying yes, but we’re suggesting you might not want to get your hopes up.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Yes and No

Here’s the problem with this sentiment: It focus on one aspect of the season - the playoffs. From that standpoint, the Falcons have a 6% chance (according to NFL history) of making the playoffs. So while they aren’t truly eliminated, I don’t think they’re going to overcome that statistic. That doesn’t mean that this season is lost, though.

At this point, the team has the opportunity to give significant playing time to guys who could be a factor in 2019 and beyond. This is an opportunity to see how these young guys can develop over a full NFL season and will also serve to tell us where our depth needs to be bolstered heading into the next year. They still have to play the games, so they may as well use it as a training year for the guys who wouldn’t see significant snaps otherwise.

Kendall Jackson

Uh, duh.

Matt Chambers

The Falcons need to buck all odds to make the playoffs. That’s impossible with this defense.

I know many had checked out when the Atlanta Falcons lost Ricardo Allen for the season, seeing no way the defense can maintain with so many injuries. I was either optimistic or foolish to think Atlanta still had a chance. If the defense holds on just enough, maybe the offense can carry them to Deion Jones’ return. And phew, I was very wrong. This defense may be worse than the 2013-2014 stretch that ultimately got Mike Smith fired. Assuming, very optimistically, that the Falcons can sneak in with a 9 win wildcard berth, they’d have to go 8-3. Unless Jordan Richards turns into Keanu Neal, there is just no way that’s happening.

Cory Woodroof

Probably, but never tell me the odds.

A year and a half ago, I watched the Atlanta Falcons defy all odds and probability to let me (and all of you) down in the worst way possible. This franchise feels immune to logic, which probably means it’s still probably a bit too early to call them lost. Weird things happen in the NFL all the time (teams sneak into the playoffs at 7-9, the Panthers won the division at 6-8-1, the Giants won a Super Bowl at 9-7). Though things do look a bit wayward and washed right now, the Falcons could, hypothetically, rally at some point this season and do just enough in a faltering NFC to make it to January as they stand. I am not betting on that happening and feel that the season is well-cooked by now. Then again, I’ve thought certain things were certain with this team in the past only to be proven wrong at the very last second. Perhaps that’s what the 2018 Falcons have yet to do: surprise us all yet again in a bizarre way that none of us could have seen coming because of math and stuff.

James Rael

Yes, and that’s okay.

Winning games in the NFL is hard. That’s a serious oversimplification, but it’s accurate. If we thought the Falcons could miraculously overcome season-ending injuries to Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, we were wrong. If we thought the Falcons could get by notwithstanding a trip to injured reserve for Deion Jones, we were sadly mistaken. The defense was without Takk McKinley for one game and without Grady Jarrett for another. These aren’t scrubs or backups we’re talking about. These are the most important players we have on that side of the ball. I’ll admit, there are other problems. (I’m looking at you, offensive line.) But the injury bug has seriously derailed this season, and there’s just no climbing out of this hole. This kind of thing happens sometimes in professional sports. It’s not fair and it’s hard to stomach, but we are where we are. All the Falcons can do now is hold their heads up high and keep playing.

Dave Choate

It’s a lost season, but it doesn’t have to be a wasted one.

The chances of the Falcons uppercutting me in the jaw post-Week 17 after a miracle playoff run are slim, to put it mildly. We’d need to see the defense improve considerably in the weeks ahead, the offense show it can stay on track against teams who have the ability and the desire to rush Matt Ryan relentlessly, and the coaching staff show it can make the right decisions on crucial in-game decisions and playing time. To stay in the hunt, the Falcons can probably only afford 1-2 or maybe 3 losses the rest of the way, with 11 games to go. That’s going to be difficult.

But as others have said above, that doesn’t mean this needs to be a wasted decision. The Falcons are starting to learn what they have with the likes of Damontae Kazee, Duke Riley, and other young players, and the time may come that they truly throw in the towel and start looking hard at men like Matt Gono and Eric Saubert who might be a piece of this team’s future in 2019 and beyond. The Falcons aren’t going to act like they’re out of it just yet—and maybe not anytime soon—but this season has exposed the fault lines on both sides of the ball, given the team a chance to figure out who belongs heading into next season, and grants them a chance to use all that insight and crushing disappointment to better themselves. Even with all the injuries this season, the need for that improvement is evident.