We have reached the finishing line of the 2019 season, and circumstances have unfortunately not been as favorable as we had all hoped they would be at the beginning of the campaign. Atlanta will finish with a record below .500 for the second consecutive year. They really had nothing to play for after the 1-7 start.
For the last time this season, it’s that time of the week again — the game is close to 24 hours from kicking off, and football fever is nearing its peak.
Let’s take a look at the hypotheticals of this game — what if the Falcons win and move their record to 7-9? What if they lose and fall to 6-10?
If the Falcons win
The players will feel good going into the offseason after finishing the year with four consecutive victories. A few of the fans will feel good too, but going on a meaningless win streak to end the season sort of gets old when you do it two years in a row. For the second consecutive year, the Falcons will finish the season 7-9 after going on a win streak with the final win being at Tampa Bay.
As far as the draft order is concerned, Atlanta is currently slotted into the 13th overall selection and is one of four 6-9 teams. A win could, in theory, plummet that pick all the way down to 18.
The Falcons will also officially finish second in the division. While that doesn’t matter as far as 2019 is concerned, it does matter for 2020 scheduling purposes — a win puts the NFC West’s second-placed finisher between Seattle and San Francisco and whoever finishes second between Philadelphia and Dallas in the NFC East on Atlanta’s schedule next season.
If the Falcons lose
They will finish with their worst record since Mike Smith’s final year in 2014. It could end up being the final nail in Dan Quinn’s coffin, although that damage may have already been done.
The Birds will be able to jump to as high as No. 9 in the draft and will better position themselves to trade up for a specific target or to trade down and accrue more picks if they want. This is all depending on other scorelines of course, but there is no possibility of picking any lower than the current 13th selection with a loss.
The Falcons would officially finish third in the division. That would set up a 2020 schedule which features the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants (the third-placed finishers in the NFC East and NFC West).