Following back to back blowout defeats where the offense scored a combined three points in two games, the Falcons will hope to reset a little bit and to get back on track against a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars team.
The Jaguars have won just two games this season, and that’s actually considered an improvement since they went 1-15 last year.
Geographically, the Jags are one of the closest teams in the NFL to Atlanta, and this week the teams will renew a southeastern rivalry which has rarely ever taken place. The Birds are 4-3 all time against Jacksonville, having played them the third-fewest amount of times among any team in the NFL (they have only played fewer games against the Texans and Ravens).
Outside of one good season in 2017, the Jaguars have been the AFC’s punching bag since 2008. That “Sacksonville” season in 2017 was the only one since 2007 where they were above .500 and/or made the playoffs.
The Falcons meanwhile, began their most successful era in team history in 2008, after drafting Matt Ryan. As you’d expect, the tide of this head to head matchup also took a turn after 2007, when Atlanta began its upswing and the Jags started plummeting.
Basically, it’s been a series of two runs — the Jaguars won three of the first four meetings between 1996-2007, and the Falcons have won each of the last three meetings, from 2011-2019.
The closest game between these teams was the first one — a 19-17 win for the Jaguars in 1996, where Bobby Herbert couldn’t quite complete a fourth quarter comeback attempt.
Atlanta’s win in Jacksonville in 2015 snapped a six-game losing streak in Dan Quinn’s first season as head coach.
A late season Week 16 meeting, in 2019, which was completely inconsequential to both teams, as each came into the game with identical 5-9 records, having already been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Falcons got off to a perfect start, scoring a touchdown on their first drive, recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and then scoring another touchdown coming off of the great field positioning.
Those 14 quick points would eventually prove to be all that was needed for Atlanta, as the defense completely stifled Gardner Minshew’s Jacksonville offense. The Jags managed just two field goals over the third and fourth quarters, and then a garbage time touchdown when the score was 24-3.
Both teams ended up winning their last game of the season, which was also of no consequence to anyone involved, and both are looking for their first playoff appearance, and first season above .500, since the 2017 campaign.