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Falcons - Cardinals fan confidence: A road diverged in the wood and Atlanta fans took the sad path

The Falcons stink and so do the Cardinals. The arrow only seems to be pointing up for one team.

NFL: DEC 16 Cardinals at Falcons

Perception is everything. This is perfectly illustrated by the respective confidence level of Cardinals and Falcons fans at the moment.

Falcons fans, who mostly expected at least a solid bounceback season after an injury-marred 2018, are living with massive disappointment at the moment. The roster is too talented and too well-compensated to play this poorly, as the Falcons splurged this offseason in the hopes of returning to contention and will be butting up against the cap going forward because of it. At 1-4, their season looks lost and fans are furious. Just 2% express confidence in the direction of the team, which is down from the abysmal 3% we saw last week.

SB Nation FanPulse Falcons 2019 Week 6

The Cardinals are in a very different boat. They definitely stink—they’re just 1-3-1 and near the bottom of the league in nearly anything statistical category you can think of—but they know where they’re going. They have a rookie franchise quarterback, they’re building their roster through the draft and taking fliers on veterans who have flamed out elsewhere, and they’re clearly in the early stages of what promises to be a multi-year rebuild. Their record is not that important to them, not when there’s some signs of progress from Kyler Murray and the defense, and not when they have an unbelievable number of injuries piling up. They have hope, and 48% of the fanbase likes the direction they’re headed in.

The perception that the Falcons were going to be a good team—one reaffirmed throughout 2019 by players and coaches who talked about shutting out the noise and shutting up fans and analysts—is the reason this season is so bitterly disappointing. Cardinals fans can, at worst, look forward to watching a young team try to figure it out. Falcons fans can, at best, expect this year to be a bitter pill, and for a new regime to come in and sort out this current mess.

Also, please do sign up for FanPulse if you haven’t! We’ll be asking you about Dan Quinn’s fate later this week.