We’ve reached another season finale for the Falcons, and it will signal the end of what has proven to be another fruitless campaign. The playoff drought has now extended to five consecutive years — the longest streak this franchise has seen since the ‘80s — and they still have yet to spend a single day with a record above .500 in that time.
Before the season, every single member of the Falcoholic team predicted between five and seven wins in our roundtable. Those predictions will range from being dead on correct to being very close no matter what happens this Sunday. There was a point this season, before the wheels fell off, where I was ready to outright call myself way off base for my five-win prediction but I unfortunately was not able to eat what would have been some very delicious crow.
The Falcons will shift focus to a different kind of offseason than we’ve been accustomed to over the years, one where they will be in position to be the big spenders. It should be as exciting of a Spring as we’ve ever seen as Falcons fans and hopefully the team comes away from it ready to legitimately compete for the first time since 2017.
For the final time this season, let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the Buccaneers in Week 18, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
They will match last year’s win total at 7-10 and finish the campaign out with two consecutive wins to end the season. I will not say that this is something that will “build momentum” going into next year because that seems like a rather ridiculous take, the same way it was in 2019 when the team won its last four games of the year before coming out of the gates in 2020 at 0-5.
The team could fall to as low as ninth in the final draft order, if the Raiders and Panthers each lose this weekend. Atlanta is currently slated to pick seventh, having lost any possible chance of entering the top five with last week’s victory against Arizona.
The Falcons will get their first victory against Tom Brady ever, in maybe their final opportunity (if Brady plays), while breaking Tampa Bay’s active five-game winning streak in the head to head series.
Desmond Ridder will continue his streak of never having lost at home in either college or the professional level.
If the Falcons lose
Their losing streak against the Bucs will move to six games, while Brady’s all time record against them will sit at a perfect 11-0.
The Falcons can move up to as high as the sixth pick in the draft standings with a Rams victory against Seattle, but they also could still fall to as low as ninth with losses by the Panthers and Raiders combined with other score lines which could flip the winner of the strength of schedule tiebreaker, as all three SOSes are within .004 points of each other.
The Falcons will finish last in the NFC South for just the fourth time ever. Their final division record in 2022 will stand at 1-5, one Eddy Pineiro missed kick in Week 8 away from being 0-6.