This Falcons team fights. They’ve lost three games to this point, but two featured fourth quarter comebacks that fell just short and all three were narrow one-score defeats. In fact, all five of Atlanta’s games have been one-score affairs, making this among the most exciting teams in the league to tune in to week in and week out.
The defeat against Tampa Bay was brutal. Down six with rampant momentum on their side behind 15 straight points, Atlanta was not allowed an opportunity to make a famous comeback thanks to the worst roughing the passer penalty I’ve ever seen, on a third down play. Jerome Boger and his crew did the Falcons and the league a disservice by being so bad at their jobs.
That’s in the past, though. Atlanta now faces a San Francisco 49ers team that sits at 3-2 following back to back blowout wins. They feature the number 1 scoring defense in the league at this point in the season, but could be without some key playmakers due to injury. The Falcons and their red helmets will be put to the test.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
It would be something of a signature win for Arthur Smith, at the very least up to this point in his tenure as a head coach. The 49ers are coming off of an NFC Championship Game appearance and are one of the favorites to make it back to that stage in a wide open NFC. I can confidently say that this would be the most impressive win for the Birds in these past two seasons.
Atlanta would make it to .500 and a 3-3 record. Following the schedule they have had so far, and looking at the schedule to come, this would put them in a good position to legitimately compete for a playoff spot. With two games against the Panthers, and matchups against the struggling Bears, Commanders and Steelers on the horizon before the bye week, Atlanta may be able to catapult themselves into legitimate playoff or even division contention if they can win one of these unexpected games against the Niners or Bengals.
The Falcons will win just their third game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium since the start of last season, but in the process will show fans why they should continue showing out the way they have through the first two home games this season. This team fights, as I wrote above, and I am happy they are being supported and embraced for it.
If the Falcons lose
They will likely be the most impressive 2-4 team in the league if we are judging strictly performance from this season. I talked in the opening about just how close the losses have been against a couple of really strong teams which made the playoffs last season, and I would say that even if they fell to four defeats in their first six games, that would be more a reflection of the difficult schedule rather than overall team performance.
Atlanta will fall to 2-7 against the NFC West since the beginning of the 2019 season, showcasing just how much of a pain in recent memory it has been going against that division. Atlanta’s wins against the west came against the Seahawks in Week 3 this year and a massive upset against the top ranked 49ers in 2019, both on the road.
I would not panic too much about a defeat in this one. If the Falcons can get those wins against the “easier” teams that were mentioned moving forward, this defeat will not be so detrimental, despite how nice it would feel to get a win. This is one of those games that I marked as unlikely when the schedule first dropped, and San Francisco’s great defensive showing this season has done nothing to change that feeling.