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Falcons vs. Buccaneers: a quick look at the state of the franchise ahead of Week 15

Fact: Brian Hill has a pet iguana named “Franklin Delano Roosevelt III”

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Have the Falcons hit rock bottom? Well, to be frank, I don’t see that’s an unfair assessment. After a dismal performance by their franchise quarterback, the Falcons allowed the Chargers to walk away with a W last weekend. At 4-9, the Falcons are in desperate need of a makeover, and it’s anyone’s guess how long that process might take.

All that said, let’s take a quick look at the state of the franchise ahead of Week 15.

This week’s game matters for a number of reasons. It’s one of two games the Falcons will play against the 8-5 Buccaneers over the next 15 days. If the season ended today, the Buccaneers would have the 6 seed. I’d they beat the Falcons and the Bears-Vikings game happens to result in a tie, they clinch a playoff berth. The winner of Bears-Vikings would need to rattle off 3 consecutive wins and the Lions would have to beat the Buccaneers the day after Christmas, but the Falcons can theoretically keep Tom Brady out of the playoffs.

Because pride and year to year momentum matters, the Falcons need to win this game. Matt Ryan obviously wants to put last weekend’s performance behind him, but his longevity is now on everyone’s mind. A solid game out of number 2 would go a long way in the hearts and minds of the Falcons fan base.

On the injury front, things are ... messy. Julio Jones (hamstring) is out, as are Marlon Davidson (knee), Darqueze Dennard (quad), and Ricardo Allen (concussion). An assortment of players were limited participants in Friday’s practice, but rookie phenom Mykal Walker (shoulder) was a full participant. Evan Birchfield’s complete injury report can be found here.

Your thoughts about the state of the franchise, Falcoholics?