The Falcons gear up for a second home game in a row, once again finding themselves with their heads above water from a win/loss standpoint at 3-2 following their win against the Houston Texans last weekend.
Desmond Ridder had his best performance as a professional football player and Atlanta came away with a last gasp win that we almost didn’t witness after the camera cut off in the middle of Younghoe Koo’s game winning kick, no doubt resulting in a brief spike in the collective blood pressure all around the Atlanta area.
Now they welcome a Commanders team which has had a few extra days of rest on account of playing on Thursday Night Football in Week 5, but one that is reeling after allowing 40 points against a Chicago Bears team that had nothing figured out offensively coming into that matchup. The Commanders find themselves with a 2-3 record and looking to get back on track.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the Commanders in Week 6, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
They will match their season high of two games above .500 in the still early stages of this campaign, and will move their home record to an impressive 4-0 for the first time since they won their first four home games in 2012. That 4-2 beginning would also be their best six game start to a season since 2016.
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the red hot, 4-1 Detroit Lions, the Falcons would leapfrog them and into first place in the NFC South. This would be the scenario even if the New Orleans Saints beat the Texans and match Atlanta’s 4-2 record on account of the Birds’ superior division record as the primary tiebreaker.
Desmond Ridder’s home record in college and the NFL would move to 32-0, while Arthur Smith’s home record as head coach of the Falcons would move to 10-3 over the past two seasons. That’s an impressive way of holding serve and defending the home turf.
Just like it was very important to get off to a good start with their first pair of home games to open the season, with two difficult road tests on the horizon (both of which they lost), the same can be said now of completing the second pair of home victories with another two difficult road games coming up for the Falcons. They have to go to Tampa next week for a battle atop the division, before traveling to Nashville for a game against a Titans team coming off of its bye. Winning this week would give Atlanta some valuable room for error.
If the Falcons lose
They will fall back to 3-3, which is actually where they were at this point six games into last season before the floor started falling out from under them.
Atlanta figures to be in competition for a Wildcard spot if they do not win the division, and Washington will be one of its competitors. The Commanders would hold the very valuable tiebreaker on account of head to head record if it ends up being needed at the end of the season, while also matching the Falcons at their current record.
Atlanta would not have a chance at climbing to the top of the division at the moment, as the worst the Buccaneers can be at the end of this weekend is 3-2, but it would give the Saints an opening to move into first. At worst, the Falcons would fall to third place in the South and may find themselves 1.5 games behind Tampa with a Bucs win.
The Birds would go into those two road matchups in danger of further falling behind in the standings. The Bucs and Titans are by no means juggernauts, but at this point it feels like any road game will be a big test for an Atlanta team which has not proven to be able to win away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium consistently. They are still looking for their first road win since Week 3 of last season, in Seattle.