In the team’s history with Matt Ryan/Thomas Dimitroff, they’ve missed the playoffs five times (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018).
Two of those times have come with 1-3 records (‘13, ‘18). The 2009 season saw Ryan miss his only multiple-game stretch with turf toe, 2014 had some early divisional wins before an October collapse and 2015, of course, featured a 5-0 start that wilted into an 8-8 finish.
You never know exactly how things are going to go as the season winds on, and of course, the team winning Sunday does not keep it from avoiding another missed year in the playoffs.
But every time in this era the team goes 1-3, it hints at something more serious going on with the team. No Falcons team in this era has ever overcome that record to finish with January football to look forward to.
There are a lot of things to ask about the 2019 Falcons, but right now, this sticks out.
Can the team usurp a Titans team at home that, on paper, should be a pretty winnable matchup, but possesses the ability to serve as a trap game at notice?
It’ll come down to slowing down running back Derrick Henry and holding strong against the Titans’ stout defense. It might not be a high-scoring affair, and could get a little sloppy, but the Falcons need this one badly.
The October schedule is fairly brutal, and then the chunk of division games hits all at once. Getting early wins helps keep your team afloat, and the team has already burned two losses out of the gate.
If the Falcons are serious about making something of 2019, then they’ll have to take Sunday quite seriously. If they lose, recent history does not track well for the team turning it around.