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Atlanta’s early bye is more likely to be a curse than a blessing

The Falcons will need the time off after traveling to London, but the early placement of the bye is tough in a longer-than-usual year.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons are heading to London in early October, delighting fans abroad and delighting just about everyone if they beat the Jets. They’ll go from that long trip to a bye week, which will be welcome after such a long flight but ill-timed in the frame of the longer season.

Here’s a few musings on the big benefits and drawbacks of the Week 6 bye.

The benefits

  • After a game in London, there’s no question at all that the Falcons will welcome a break. Flying abroad and playing a game, even a game against the Jets, is a taxing thing.
  • After the first six weeks of a season with a brand new coaching staff and a lot of new additions to the roster, the break might be well-timed. Atlanta’s got a couple of tough matchups against quality defenses in Tampa Bay and Washington, and if they struggle with those at all, this will be a chance to take a step back and re-think things. Also, it’ll likely be a chance to just take another look at the defense and get it ready for the rest of the slate, because I don’t expect the defense to exactly light the world on fire even if the early games are not particularly challenging in that regard.

D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution makes a similar argument here, and depending on how those early games shake out, it could be well-timed.

The drawback

  • It’s way too early, honestly. I don’t want to be guilty of putting too much stock in a bye week when there are so many other factors that go into a team’s success, but you have 12 straight games after the bye and only 5 of those are home games. If the Falcons get banged up over that stretch or just fall into a bit of a rut, there’s no opportunity for that rest and reset the bye can afford you, and the majority of Atlanta’s toughest games are after the bye. They’ll have to be firing on all cylinders coming out of Week 6 to make noise, because there’s no respite past that point.

Atlanta’s season doesn’t seem particularly likely to hinge on the bye, not with a potential high-powered offense fueling brighter days and a boatload of questions about the defense lingering. I do wish it could have landed a little later in the year, but we’ll have to hope Atlanta dominates the early games, recharges, and then keeps dominating over the final 12.