We’re at that point in the season where we know that the Falcons won’t be playing into January — a haunting realization that we’ve now had to come to terms with in three consecutive seasons. It couldn’t get much worse for the Falcons as that realization was officially stamped following the completion of a season sweep at the hands of Taysom Hill and the arch-rival New Orleans Saints.
This week, the Falcons welcome the Los Angeles Chargers, who are in many ways the mirror version of themselves in the AFC. The Chargers are also a team which has suffered from inept coaching all season and which has become known for blowing double digit leads this year.
Let’s dive into the major what if scenario this week, looking at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they win against the Los Angeles Chargers and looking at if they lose, now that football is less than 24 hours away from being played again.
If the Falcons win
I’ll start this portion of the column off the same way that I have every other week in saying that the main beneficiary will be Raheem Morris, who is trying to showcase himself for other head coaching or defensive coordinator jobs around the NFL. After this team’s horrendous performances against the Saints, there really should be no chance that Morris or anyone else from this coaching staff has anything to do with Atlanta beyond this season.
Now, let’s talk draft. Atlanta currently sits in the 8th spot as things currently stand, with a 4-8 record. They’re tied with three other 4-8 teams. In a worst case scenario, the Birds could fall to as low as 12th if everything goes wrong with the other NFL games.
The team would feel somewhat better about themselves after losing to Taysom Hill for the second time in three weeks, I guess. We’d likely get some celebratory press conference hearing them talk about overcoming adversity after beating a 3-9 football team.
If the Falcons lose
The wheels will have come spiraling off for the coaching staff. The record for Raheem Morris as interim head coach will fall to 4-4, after starting things out at 3-1. The sweep at the hands of the Saints already has the fanbase firmly standing against them, and more losses down the stretch will only compound that sentiment.
There would be major benefits when it comes to draft positioning. For one, the Falcons would move into a tie with the Chargers at 4-9. With so many below .500 teams facing off against each other this week, defeat would be pretty adventageous for the Birds.
Atlanta closes the season out with games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (twice), and the Kansas City Chiefs. Predicting them to go winless in that stretch of games wouldn’t exactly be considered bold. If the Falcons don’t taste victory again for the rest of the season, and finish with a 4-12 record, they’ll likely be picking inside the top 5 come April.