In the NFL, if you beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, you’ll almost always be in the hunt. The Falcons have developed a great habit of beating inferior competition in Arthur Smith’s first season as the team’s head coach. All five of their wins have come against teams with current records below .500, while they’re struck
Coming off of a solid yet unspectacular win against the Jaguars, the Falcons currently sit at 5-6 and are playing competitive football in the month of December, after spending the past three seasons as cold, lifeless corpses come the last full month of the season.
This week, the test gets tougher — another meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won the first meeting 48-25 back in Week 2. The Falcons will look to exact a measure of revenge while bolstering their own hopes of success this season.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
They would once again find themselves inside the playoff picture, with a full game lead, if the Vikings and Football Team each suffer defeat this weekend. I know that some may get upset at me for talking about the playoffs, but the Falcons are currently tied for the final Wildcard spot — it’s December and this is very real at the moment. It needs to be discussed.
The Birds would also move into a tie with the 49ers for one of the Wildcard spots if San Francisco loses to Seattle this weekend. These upcoming games against the Panthers and 49ers would become crucial fights for survival.
They would re-take the all time series lead against the Buccaneers — the series is currently tied at 28-28. Atlanta would also beat Tom Brady for the first time ever.
This will be the first team they will have beaten with a current winning record. To kill two birds with one stone, they will have also finally won a game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time all year. There’s all the incentive in the world to get the win.
If the Falcons lose
They will drop from playoff contention for the time being, and would move into a three-way tie for last place in the division, along with the Panthers and Saints. Tampa’s magic number to clinch their first NFC South title since 2007 would be just two.
Tampa will re-take the lead in this all time series for the first time since they relinquished it, back in 2017. This will also be the second consecutive season in which the Bucs will have swept Atlanta, something they had previously done just one time in the Matt Ryan era.
The Falcons will move into a cluster of seven loss teams in the NFL. Coming into this week, six teams have seven defeats, and they would all currently be picking between 6-11 in the draft. The Birds would put themselves in play for another top 10 pick.
The next three games, against the Panthers, 49ers and Lions, essentially all become must win contests. Lose any of those, and the Falcons will be better off focusing on the draft.