Atlanta was a 4-12 football team last year despite a handful of inspiring efforts under interim head coach Raheem Morris, and it was not a given that they’d exceed that win total this year with the state of the franchise. I predicted that they’re wind up at 8-9, but the floor for Atlanta was quite low given the state of the roster and the uncertain fortunes of a new coaching staff, and I know in polls we ran over the course of the spring and summer anywhere from a quarter to a third of Falcons fans consistently thought this team would win six or fewer games.
That’s still very much on the table, of course, but they’re not going to finish with just four wins again!
Happily, they’ve now exceeded that 2020 win total, hanging on to beat the Jaguars 21-14 in Jacksonville and move to 5-6 on the season. It’s difficult to tell how many more wins this Falcons team has in them this year—Cordarrelle Patterson makes all things possible, but Atlanta has mostly just beaten bad teams and lost to good ones all year—but the fact that they’re hovering near .500 despite being outscored by more than 100 points is impressive in its own way.
There’s only one game left on the schedule that looks like another opportunity for the Falcons to beat up on a bad team, and that’s the Lions. Otherwise, they’re facing off against the Buccaneers, 49ers, Bills, Panthers and Saints, and divisional screwiness alone ensures that no matter how sad Carolina and New Orleans look they’ll put up a good fight. We’ve said it a lot, but it bears repeating that this team has a ton of limitations that can’t really be corrected until 2022 until the earliest, so every sign of progress and young player who shows out is a cause for some small celebration.
How many wins do you think the Falcons will finish with? I’m clinging to that 8-9 prediction like a piece of driftwood in shark-infested waters, myself.