The Falcons went into their bye week having won three out of their last four games since Raheem Morris took over as the interim head coach. They’re on a bit of a hot streak and will rely on momentum as they now have to face statistically the most difficult second half of the season in the NFL.
That brutal post-bye week schedule starts with the arch rival New Orleans Saints, who are 7-2 but are coming into this game without the injured Drew Brees. Last season, the Falcons came out of the bye week at 1-7 and upset the 7-1 Saints in New Orleans in a game which sent shockwaves around the league. That loss ultimately cost the Saints homefield advantage, and forced them to play on Wildcard weekend where they lost to the Vikings at home.
Let’s dive into the major what if scenario this week, looking at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they win against New Orleans and looking at if they lose, now that football is less than 24 hours away from being played again.
If the Falcons win
The dream start to Morris’ interim coaching challenge will continue, as the Falcons will move to 4-1 under his leadership following a 0-5 start to the year that got Dan Quinn fired. Morris will continue making a strong case to be a head coach in the NFL next season, whether that be in Atlanta or somewhere else.
With the team currently three games below .500 at the moment, I am obligated to continue looking at draft scenarios. The Falcons are currently slotted in at the 10th pick and could drop to as low as 15th with a win, depending on other score lines around the league of course.
While I am currently obligated to look at draft standings, a win will make me obligated to start looking at the Falcons making a run at a potential Wildcard spot, especially if the NFL does indeed add an extra Wildcard team due to COVID implications. The Falcons are currently 1.5 games back of that potential expanded spot.
More than anything, it’s never acceptable to lose to the Saints, and a win will be a gift to the entire fanbase that it deserves after having to put up with this 3-6 season thus far. Atlanta’s all time record against the Saints will move to 54-49, and the trash talk will flow.
If the Falcons lose
Then any meager hopes at a playoff run will quickly fade into the wind. The team will have seven losses with games against the Saints, Buccaneers (x2), and Chiefs still on the horizon.
The draft pick will be firmly in the top 10 for at least another week and, let’s be honest, will likely end up as a top 10 selection at the end of the season after the team faces such a brutal ROS (rest of season) schedule.
The fanbase won’t give the team an easy time if they lose to the dreaded rival New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees — it’ll be even worse if reports are true that Taysom Hill will be Brees’ replacement in this one (though we can never discount gamesmanship from Sean Payton). The Saints will move one game closer to tying the all-time series record in this rivalry, which could feasibly happen next season.
Losing is never an option when the Falcons play the Saints.