A new era of Falcons football is on the horizon after Arthur Blank made a decisive move to relieve Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff of their duties with the Atlanta Falcons, ensuring sweeping changes moving forward. That era will have to wait until next season, as there is still the matter of finishing 2020 out.
Following the defeat to the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons officially sit as one of three winless teams in the league, along with the Jets and Giants. Minnesota, who has one win, plays host to the Birds in this one.
Let’s dive into the major what if scenario this week, looking at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they win against Minnesota and looking at if they lose, now that football is less than 24 hours away from being played again.
If the Falcons win
The biggest winner would be interim head coach Raheem Morris, who is now essentially auditioning for a head coaching opportunity, if not with Atlanta then somewhere else in the league, for the rest of the season.
Purely speculating here, but I would venture to guess that the Falcons’ locker room isn’t brimming with confidence sitting at an 0-5 record and having just seen their head coach of six years be shown the door. A win would go a long way in bringing some excitement back for the players.
We have to start seriously tracking the draft standings at this point, as the playoffs look to be merely a fantasy, even with the extra Wild Card spot added this season. As mentioned, the number of teams currently winless in the NFL stands at three. The number of 1-win teams, however, is 12, meaning that Atlanta would go from top three in the draft standings to an absolute dog fight for the best possible pick.
The Falcons would win their first game against the Minnesota Vikings since 2011, breaking a 4-game winning streak the Vikings currently hold in the series. It would also be their first win Minnesota since Matt Ryan’s rookie year in 2008 (shoutout to Justin Blalock who had a fumble recovery for a touchdown in that game).
If the Falcons lose
It will be business as usual for this team in 2020 (and in the first half of 2019 if you want to go back). The last time the Falcons were 0-5 was in 1997. That year, they had a bye following that fifth defeat, and subsequently they came away with a victory in Week 7. If the Falcons lose on Sunday, they’ll fall to 0-6 for the first time since Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympic Games, in 1996.
The free-fall will continue as the Birds will draw another game closer to getting mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. They probably have no chance as it is, but they’re not technically dead until the math says they are.
The flip side is that they’ll consolidate a top three spot in the draft order for at least another week. With the Giants facing Kyle Allen (or Alex Smith) and the Redskins this weekend, Atlanta could come out of Week 6 as one of just two winless teams in the league.
Raheem Morris’ career record as a head coach will fall to 17-32.