The Falcons weren’t expected to beat the Bills, obviously, but they still put forth a strong effort that saw them lead at halftime before things went awry in the second half. The loss did remove them from playoff contention officially, however, meaning any faint playoff hopes you may have been clinging to are officially dead. Rest in peace, playoff hopes.
Atlanta hung on longer than anticipated, and while they’re lined up for their fourth straight losing season, this one had its bright moments. The Falcons also head into the offseason with more cap space than last year, a pick that is guaranteed to fall in the top 16, and the emergence of A.J. Terrell and Chris Lindstrom as truly elite players to hang their hats on, among other positives. Whether that translates into a better year remains to be seen, but the end of this season doesn’t feel nearly as desolate as it did in 2019 or 2020, and that’s a positive.
The loss of playoff chances also doesn’t mean the final game of the season is just playing out the string, though. That’s because the Falcons play the Saints and can move to 2-0 against them in the Arthur Smith era, and because Atlanta can ruin New Orleans’ dim playoff hopes by beating the brakes off of them at home in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. If you’re a major Saints hater like me—and I hope you are—that’s more than enough reason to turn out in your Sunday best.
To make the Week 18 matchup between #Falcons and Saints that more interesting, the Saints playoff hopes will be on the line. Saints have to win AND have 49ers lose and Vikings lose once before then.— Evan Birchfield (@EvanBirchfield) January 3, 2022
A Falcons win spoils that.
Hopefully the Falcons will have a playoff spot sewn up by this time next year, but it’s going to be a long and stressful offseason for all of us. Let’s settle in this week and hopefully enjoy watching the Falcons beat the Saints and ruin their playoff chances, which would be a wonderful note to end this up-and-down season on.