It was this time last year the Atlanta Falcons got themselves together and stopped losing football games.
The 2018 team, also a passive assembly of paltry play sitting at 1-4, took down the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get only their second win of the year, and won two other games to get the record to 4-4 and convince all of us for some unknown reason a turnaround was possible.
How silly we were!
The team, naturally, cascaded after that with a five-game losing streak that wiped clean most of the offensive and defensive coaching staffs and STs coach Keith Armstrong.
In 2019, the Falcons continue to sit at 1-4 and head to see the Arizona Cardinals and try and spark a similar turnaround.
The question is, sincerely, can they do this?
The Cardinals very much a team in transition, with freshman quarterback Kyler Murray and first-time NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury trying to find their footing together.
The team has some talented players like future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald, perhaps in his final season, running back David Johnson, pass rusher Chandler Jones, former Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters, linebacker Jordan Hicks and free safety Budda Baker.
The team is 1-3-1 after tying with the Lions earlier in the season and looks poised to spend 2019 building up for the future with Murray under center.
The Falcons, needless to say, are not a rebuilding team and do not have the types of excuses the Cardinals have now to be losing ball games.
Atlanta should defeat Arizona on paper, but calling this game already over is a fool’s errand. The Cardinals, hypothetically, have the better record and home field advantage, and they have a promising young QB who does things that can throw this defense into a tizzy.
Losing Sunday for the Falcons would be downright embarrassing, since these are the types of games you just can’t afford to lose if you’re a tenured NFL outfit.
If the team wins Sunday, it’s not really going to change much, but at least they’ll show some response in this three-game skid and your Sunday afternoon will not be for naught.
Maybe they’ll show more life in the weeks ahead; they’ll need to with the schedule what it is.
But if they don’t and Sunday is another notch on the losing tally, this team is further along into something that can only be described as an absolute implosion.