The Falcons get their shot at revenge this week against the New Orleans Saints, following the embarrassing showing they put on display in Louisiana two weeks ago. The Birds bounced back with a convincing victory against the Raiders, but this is the game that we’ve all been waiting for.
The Saints, meanwhile, won an ugly game against the Broncos that featured a combined 92 yards of passing offense from two skill position players who were pretending to be quarterbacks.
Let’s dive into the major what if scenario this week, looking at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they win against the New Orleans Saints and looking at if they lose, now that football is less than 24 hours away from being played again.
If the Falcons win
It will bode very well for Raheem Morris as he continues building his resume for a potential head coaching job next season. The Falcons will move to 5-2 under his leadership, and this would undoubtedly be regarded as his signature win of the season.
Atlanta’s draft position would suffer. The victory last week resulted in minimal damage as the pick went from the 9th selection to number 10. A win this week could have more severe ramifications. While unlikely, there is a scenario where the Falcons drop to the 16th overall selection depending on how other score-lines around the league shake out.
This is the week to throw all of that out the window, however. Beating the Saints would be the highlight of the season, just like it was last year.
Atlanta would avoid a season sweep, and they would deal a blow to their rivals’ aspirations of getting the 1-seed in a year where only the top seed will have a bye week on Wildcard weekend. They would open the door for the Green Bay Packers to draw level with the Saints at the top of the NFC (GB owns the tiebreaker too). Atlanta’s win in New Orleans last year resulted in the Saints having to play (and lose) on Wildcard weekend instead of having homefield advantage. History could repeat itself this season.
If the Falcons lose
They’ll consolidate their spot in the top 10 of the draft. A loss would move the Birds ahead of the Panthers by way of strength of schedule. Atlanta is currently in the middle of a five-team dogfight of 4-7 records, making the margin between potential draft selections razor thin.
The Saints will continue their dominance in this rivalry in recent times. This would be the Saints’ third win in a row and the sixth in the past seven meetings dating back to 2017. New Orleans would also shrink the series gap to 52-50, and would be in position to tie it up as soon as next year.
Atlanta would be in a better spot regarding the draft for another week, but at what cost? I have nothing against the idea of maneuvering for a better draft selection when the season is already lost but not when it means losing to the Saints.