The Atlanta Falcons set their sights back on the AFC this weekend when they make the short trip up to Nashville for a date with the Titans, in a series which has been incredibly close since these franchises met for the first time in 1972.
The Houston Oilers turned Tennessee Titans have an overall 8-7 lead over the Atlanta Falcons, who have not moved cities nor changed their name since 1972.
The Oilers were one of those rare teams the Falcons had success against early on. Atlanta won four of the first five matchups through 1984, including a key 20-14 victory in 1978, which was a season where every victory was crucial in earning their first ever playoff appearance. June Jones was the winning quarterback, while Bubba Bean was the leading rusher for Atlanta.
The Oilers turned Titans turned the tide in the mid-90s and beyond, when they won five straight matchups through 2007. The Falcons then went 2-1 in the Matt Ryan era.
The Falcons and Titans met each other in the Week 4 of the 2019 season, both sitting at 1-2 and both needing a “get right” game. Tennessee was coming off of an embarrassing performance on Thursday Night Football in Week 3 against the Jaguars, where their offense scored just seven points and gave up nine total sacks (three to current Falcon Calais Campbell).
Atlanta was coming off of a close defeat against the Colts, and boy did their defense let the Titans’ offense “get right” in this one. Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota connected with A.J. Brown for two touchdowns before the first quarter finished, including a one play drive which saw Brown score from 55 yards out thanks to some putrid tackling from Atlanta’s secondary.
After Brown’s second score, the Falcons never again caught up to Tennessee. Ito Smith capped off an early scoring drive with a touchdown on Atlanta’s second possession, and then the Birds scored just three more points for the rest of the game. Head coach Dan Quinn’s unit clearly looked like a broken team at this point.
Atlanta went on to finish the season at 7-9, while Tennessee put together a bit of a magical season under Derrick Henry and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. They got into the post season at 9-7 before beating the Patriots and upsetting the Ravens to reach the AFC Championship game.