Losing Sunday would essentially put the already scrambling Falcons on the uphill climb for the rest of the season, and remove any cushion for them to lose more games and still, somehow, feel like January football is possible. Their best possible record at that point would be 12-4, and I don’t think anyone sees a run of the table beyond Houston.
The upcoming schedule is brutal, with teams like the Rams, Seahawks and, yes, Saints in waiting. The Buccaneers and Panthers also look somewhat formidable despite being flawed, so the Falcons have very, very little margin for error gong ahead if a loss Sunday is what’s to come.
That’s bad and is exactly what happened to the Falcons last season. The team went into Pittsburgh in pretty awful shape and left somehow worse than they did before that game. They fell to 1-4 and never recovered enough to save the season.
That team also had far more excuses. It was still early in navigating the loss a lot of its impact defenders. This Falcons team is largely at full strength and is just faltering because of poor play and lackluster coaching.
The Texans have the guys to burn you, and Deshaun Watson is a very talented quarterback who probably hasn’t even truly hit his prime yet. After watching what a then-struggling Marcus Mariota do to Dan Quinn’s defense last Sunday, what do you think Watson is going to do in his own stadium?
The Falcons can win Sunday if they get over this horrid funk and play their style of football. Houston is far from invincible. It’s more than fair to question just how possible that is given what we’ve seen so far.
A win Sunday gets the team to 2-3 and stops the bleeding. It might give them something to build on for the rest of the month, even though the road ahead is choppy and unforgiving.
A loss will put the team at 1-4 headed into a blender of a recovery period. This team can’t beat the Rams or Seahawks as it is right now, and you even wonder if it can beat the Cardinals on the road. You’d like to think so, but you’d also like to think they can beat a visiting Titans.
If, by some cruel stretch of fate, the team is 1-8 going into the bye week, Quinn or OC Dirk Koetter might be let go. The fact that we have to seriously entertain that thought is depressing.
Neither will likely be here in 2020 regardless if this is where we’re headed, though. The Falcons are just too talented a roster to be in this situation.
The real burning question is how this next four-game stretch is going to go for the team.
But as the team must do, let’s focus on one game at a time. A win or loss in the Lone Star State could speak volumes to how the immediate and somewhat-distant future of this franchise is going to go.