It’s time to gear up for the final four games of the 2019 season. I know what you’re wondering: Can the Falcons possibly can win any of those games? You’re probably wondering because you want them to tank, but nonetheless, let’s spend a moment and look.
Week 14: Falcons vs. Panthers: Probable
The Panthers are a mess, and they’re headed for the kind of seismic offseason activity Atlanta’s currently buckling up for. Carolina just lost to lowly Washington over the weekend, Kyle Allen has turned into a major liability, and the defense that is supposed to be the calling card of a Ron Rivera-led team is...well, it’s not. Rivera’s probably getting fired, and with Cam’s uncertain position with the team and Will Grier basically an unknown, they could be starting over in more than one way.
That’s a long-winded way of saying this is easily the most winnable game left on the slate for Atlanta. I’d be surprised if they didn’t at least make a strong push to get the W here.
Week 15: Falcons @ 49ers: Doubtful
The 49ers are fresh off a close loss to the Ravens, but that’s the Ravens, perhaps the best football team in America right now. The Falcons aren’t even close to the same caliber of competition, unfortunately.
Chances are good the Shanahan-led 49ers will run pretty effectively against Atlanta, given that they do so against everyone. Nick Bosa and the San Francisco pass rush is also going to give Matt Ryan hell, given the state of this line, and it’s doubtful this team lets their guard down to the point where this Falcons team can slip by them.
Week 16: Falcons vs. Jaguars: Questionable
I know the Jaguars look very sad right now, and like the Panthers and Falcons, they’re probably on the cusp of sweeping changes this offseason. Now that they appear done with Nick Foles—and given the talent on hand—I don’t think the Falcons should be expected to beat them. That’s especially true because Atlanta is home, where they have been pretty awful this year.
This one feels 50/50 to me, at least at the moment.
Week 17: Falcons @ Buccaneers: Questionable
This one feels less than 50/50. The Bucs are on a little bit of a tear against bad teams—our Falcons included—and utterly dismantled Atlanta’s hopes and dreams last time around. For perspective’s sake, the Falcons lost by more to the Bucs than the Saints, a vastly superior team that sacked Matt Ryan nine times. Yikes.
Chances are a road game against the Bucs isn’t going to end well, but divisional nonsense is a thing, and Jameis Winston is still capable of ruining a healthy Tampa Bay effort all by his lonesome.
Assume nothing with this Falcons team, because they are capable of ruinously bad efforts and absurdly great ones. I do think 1-3 or 2-2 over their final four games is probably a reasonable expectation for this team, because they’re just talented enough to avoid going 0-4 when they’re not exactly up against a murderer’s row of opponents. We’ll see where that lands them in the draft order, but one way or the other, it’ll be a relief to put this season in the rear view mirror.