2020 is a season of low points for the Falcons, and they hit another one with an embarrassing showing against the Taysom Hill-led Saints last week. They’ll get their shot at redemption against the arch rivals, but they first need to shift focus to Jon Gruden’s Raiders.
Vegas is the only team to beat the scorching-hot Kansas City Chiefs this season, and this past Sunday they came very close to completing a season sweep of the defending Super Bowl champions, proving that they’re not a team to be trifled with.
Let’s dive into the major what if scenario this week, looking at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they win against Las Vegas Raiders and looking at if they lose, now that football is less than 24 hours away from being played again.
If the Falcons win
Above all else, they’ll ruin their draft positioning. I’m not going to sit here and patronize your knowledge of the game by pretending that this disaster of a team has any chance at the playoffs — any meager hope of that happening was buried under the turf of the Louisiana Superdome last Sunday.
The Falcons currently sit in position to pick seventh in the draft following a successful Thanksgiving which saw Houston and Washington (who also had 3-7 records coming into the week) each win to fall behind Atlanta in the draft standings. Going by current strength of schedule, a win could bring the Falcons to as low as 12th in the draft order depending on other scorelines around the league.
The players will regain some confidence going into that revenge match against the Saints next week, and Raheem Morris’ record as interim coach will move to 4-2.
The Raiders would be just the third AFC team that the Falcons will have beaten in the last three years (the Broncos in 2020 and the Jaguars in 2019 are the other two).
If the Falcons lose
Just another quick blurb about Atlanta’s nearly non-existent playoff hopes here — defeat will bring them one step closer to mathematically eliminating them and putting them out of their misery.
Now, let’s talk draft. Atlanta has the possibility to climb into the top five with defeat, if the Chargers can beat the Bills (not super likely, but this represents an ideal scenario). With the Giants (3-7) playing the Bengals (2-7-1), the Falcons are guaranteed to move up at least one spot into 6th if they lose. A tie in the standings with Dallas (who lost on Thanksgiving) would await, but the strength of schedule tiebreaker favors the Cowboys in this instance.
Raheem Morris will go from being talked about as Atlanta’s possible long term head coach to most likely not being looked at for any head coaching vacancy in the league in the span of two short weeks. The Falcons won three of their first four games under Morris’ leadership, but it will be more and more evident that was fools’ gold as those wins came against the Vikings (4-6), Panthers (4-7) and Broncos (4-6).