The Atlanta Falcons will likely make this fanbase furious a number of times due to stupid losses this season, but Week 2’s defeat in Tampa Bay should not fall into that category. Truthfully, even the most optimistic of Falcons fans likely had that game circled as a defeat, as there likely won’t be a tougher game on the schedule this season.
The problem is that this past weekend’s defeat compounds the debacle from Week 1 even more. The Birds sit in the very unenviable position of 0-2 for the second consecutive season as the margin for error has gotten incredibly thin as a consequence.
Next, the Falcons stay on the road, traveling up north for a date with the 0-2 New York Giants, who are coming off of the most heartbreaking defeat we’ve seen from any team thus far two weeks into the new season. This feels like one of those early season must wins for both teams.
Let’s take a look at circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the New York Giants in Week 3, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
The ship will begin to get steadied a little bit after encountering some rapid and menacing waves through the first couple of weeks. They say that first victory is always the most difficult one to get, and Arthur Smith will get it just in time in his new era as head coach.
As expected, the fanbase isn’t too pleased with this franchise, which has now started out 0-2 after suffering through three consecutive seasons which were pretty much lost by the time the calendar flipped to November. It’ll be a huge mental refresher for the fans and players to bounce back, if for no reason other than to show that this won’t be an exact repeat of last year, when the team started 0-5.
Suddenly, some optimism would be on the horizon as the Birds enter the lightest stretch in their schedule this season. Following the Giants, the quarterbacks Atlanta will face include Taylor Heinecke, Zach Wilson, either Tua Tagovailoa or Jacoby Brissett, Sam Darnold and Jameis Winston all in order. While it’s always dangerous to assume that the Falcons will take advantage of weaker competition, that’s not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents I just listed out.
Atlanta will have won its third consecutive meeting against the Giants, dating back to 2015. That will tie the longest win streak for the Falcons in this series, after they achieved that feat twice before — in the mid 2000s and late 1970s.
If the Falcons lose
We may need to start firing up some mock drafts. Okay, that may be a slight overreaction and exaggeration, but not really.
These early season contests against the Eagles and Giants were thought to be two of the easier games on Atlanta’s schedule—not that there are every really any easy games in the NFL, especially on the road and especially for the Falcons—and they will have dropped both right away.
The team would fall to 0-3 for the second consecutive campaign for the first time since they did so in 1996 and 1997. They missed the playoffs in both of those seasons, extending their playoff draught to six consecutive years.
Speaking of the fanbase, there would be a prevailing “here we go again” mentality, and why wouldn’t there be? This team has seen no success since 2017, and even the success they achieved that season couldn’t be enjoyed because it was overshadowed by the worst collapse in Super Bowl history, which was suffered just a few months prior. This fanbase deserves better and they just aren’t getting it.
Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot deserve time to fix the mess left behind by Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, both from a roster building standpoint and from a financial one. However, the first impression they will have made will be the worst possible one with an immediate losing streak in front of a fanbase starved for success, even though they aren’t the ones to blame for the embarrassment that this franchise has become over the past half decade.