How good does it feel to be 1-0? I’m sure the Monday morning coffee tasted just a little sweeter, the commute to work felt a little more bearable and the buzz around the city of Atlanta was a little more palpable as the Atlanta Falcons won their first season opener since 2017 and reached a regular-season mark above .500 for the first time in 2,079 days.
For the first time in 2,079 days, the Atlanta Falcons have more wins than losses in the regular season— Adnan Ikic (@SayWhichWay) September 10, 2023
This is also the first time in the history of this article series (which is four seasons old) in which I can write about the scenario surrounding an Atlanta Falcons team with a winning record, and boy does it feel really good.
The Birds stay home for a second straight week, after enjoying a raucous crowd in the season opener, this time welcoming in the Green Bay Packers who are coming off of a blowout victory against the Chicago Bears. Both playoff hopefuls are looking to get off to a 2-0 start to really catapult expectations among their respective fanbases.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding the Falcons if they beat the Packers in Week 2, as well as looking at the scenario if they lose.
If the Falcons win
They will absolutely electrify the city of Atlanta. It will be the team’s first 2-0 start to a season since the 2017 season (the team finished 10-6 and in a playoff spot that year). The massive crowds who showed up at training camp this year, who packed out the Benz in Week 1 and who will probably do so again this coming weekend will be justified in their excitement in the early stages of the season.
When it comes to the early season division race, they will hold at least a share of first place with at maximum the Buccaneers and Saints, and they will apply early pressure onto New Orleans to have to beat the Panthers on Monday Night Football if they want to keep pace from the jump.
This will be yet another home victory triumph for Desmond Ridder, whose all-time career home record in college football and the NFL will move to a glistening 30-0. He will also help the Falcons break a modest active two-game losing streak against Green Bay, both of which were 14-point wins for the Pack.
The Falcons will embark on what will be arguably their most difficult two-game stretch of the season after this one, with road games against the Lions and Jaguars. Even if they lose both, they will still be in a very good position with a light rest of their schedule, although they will really be able to send a message if they come out of that stretch at 3-1 or 4-0.
If the Falcons lose
There won’t be any shame in it (depending on how it happens) as Green Bay is a good team with its own playoff and division title aspirations, but it will sort of take the wind out of Atlanta’s early season sails following a nice Week 1 triumph.
That losing streak to the Packers will hit three games, which will see their opponents avenge a three-game winning streak Atlanta had in this series immediately prior, in 2016-2017. This will also be Green Bay’s first victory in Atlanta since 2014.
The Falcons will stand to fall a game behind the Buccaneers and/or the Saints in the early division race and will at best hope for a four-way tie with everyone in the division being 1-1 at the end of this week. The Packers would also win the crucial tiebreaker in a potential Wild Card race or even to determine conference standings in case both they and the Falcons win their respective divisions.
Atlanta will be sitting at 1-1 and staring down the barrel of a potential 1-3 start to the season, as they will be underdogs against both Detroit and Jacksonville. Even if the team gets off to this start it will not be the end of the world given the rest of the schedule, but it will surely be very uncomfortable.