A loss in the first week of the season is not fatal. If you come out of that first week with a laundry list of things you can fix and you do fix them, the rest of the season can proceed quite merrily. See the 2016 Falcons, who rattled off four wins following their Week 1 loss and went on to the Super Bowl.
Then there are the Week 1 losses that are a harbinger of things to come. The 2019 Falcons won their Week 2 matchup against the Eagles after a crushing loss to the Vikings in Week 1, but then would lose six straight games and the season was dead at the halfway mark. It’s impossible to know which one that Week 1 loss will prove to be, but we do know the Cowboys are probably under less pressure to start 0-2 than the Falcons.
This game is still critical for both teams, because on average, something like 10% of 0-2 teams make the playoffs, making it somewhat of a likely death sentence for your season. The Cowboys have an easier road through what looks like a much shakier division, while the Falcons need to stay afloat both to keep this team intact and in case Drew Brees and Tom Brady being really old doesn’t kill New Orleans and Tampa Bay. Atlanta needs to show they can stop a high-quality passing attack, something they couldn’t do against Seattle, while Dallas needs to show they can both put the brakes on long, grinding drives and convert a few of their own into more points.
Here’s what you’ll need to know to watch a game that’s absolutely critical for our Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys, Week 2
When: Sunday, September 20, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: The Jerry Jones Passion Project, Arlington, Texas
Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, Daryl Johnston, Pam Oliver
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Key Questions: Can the secondary actually figure this thing out and hold the Cowboys under 30 points, keeping the game within reach? Will the Falcons find a way to be more efficient and effective on offense early in the game, instead of having to furiously rally? Does the dynamic Younghoe Koo and Foye Oluokun onside kick recovery machine have another successful attempt in them?
Prediction: Falcons win, 30-28
SB Nation Opposition Site: Blogging the Boys
2019 Falcons Schedule (0-1)
Week 1: Loss vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 2: at Dallas Cowboys — Sunday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.
Week 3: vs. Chicago Bears — Sunday, September 27, 1:00 p.m.
Week 4: at Green Bay Packers — Monday Night Football, October 5, 8:15 p.m.
Week 5: vs. Carolina Panthers — Sunday, October 11, 1:00 p.m.
Week 6: at Minnesota Vikings — Sunday, October 18, 1:00 p.m.
Week 7: vs. Detroit Lions — Sunday, October 25, 1:00 p.m.
Week 8: at Carolina Panthers — Thursday Night Football, October 29, 8:25 p.m.
Week 9: vs. Denver Broncos — Sunday, November 8, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: vs. New Orleans Saints — Sunday, November 22, 1:00 p.m.
Week 12: vs. Las Vegas Raiders — Sunday, November 29, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: at New Orleans Saints — Sunday, December 6, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: at Los Angeles Chargers — Sunday, December 13, 4:25 p.m.
Week 15: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sunday, December 20, 1:00 p.m.
Week 16: at Kansas City Chiefs — Sunday, December 27, 1:00 p.m.
Week 17: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sunday, January 3, 1:00 p.m.