If the season ended today the Falcons would have the 5th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. That’s not something I would have thought possible coming into the season. Atlanta is tied with five other teams for the worst record in the league. The Falcons season isn’t “over” yet, but it is dangerously close. They must win their next two games going into the bye if they want a shot at making the playoffs. The Buccaneers come to town this weekend and Atlanta has won their last three matchups against them. Let’s dive in to what you need to know for the week ahead.
Head to Head
Atlanta leads the all-time series 25-24. Since Matt Ryan was drafted Atlanta has won 13 out of 20 matchups. Jameis Winston won his first three meetings with Atlanta, but has dropped the last two. It appeared through the first couple of weeks that Ryan Fitzpatrick may push Winston for the starting gig, but his magic ran out and Winston has since been named the starter. Winston entered the game week 3 and threw two interceptions. He has played well in Atlanta the last two meetings, averaging 290 pass yards, and 3.5 touchdowns.
2015 Home 227 pass 1 td 1 int (win) Away 177 pass 1 td 0 int (win)
2016 Home 261 pass 3 td 0 int (loss) Away 281 pass 4 td 1 int (win)
2017 Home DNP Away 299 pass 3 td 0 int (loss)
2015 Home 397 pass 2 td 1 int (loss) Away 269 pass 1 td 1 int (loss)
2016 Home 334 pass 2 td 0 int (loss) Away 344 pass 4td 0 int (win)
2017 Home 317 pass 1 td 0 int (win) Away 212 pass yd 1 td 0 int (win)
Home vs Road
The Falcons have looked great at home offensively, but sadly hold a 1-2 record there. They are averaging 34.7 points per game at home, while only 14.5 on the road. Ryan is averaging 10.1 yards per attempt with 10-1 td-int and a 136.6 passer rating at home. While on the road he is averaging 5.5 yards per attempt with a 1-1 td-int and 73.4 passer rating. The road woes continue to be an issue for this team. They won’t have another road game until after their bye when they take on the Redskins. After the bye six of Atlanta’s nine remaining games will be on the road.
Dating back to 1995 teams starting with a 1-4 record have a 6% chance of making the playoffs. Teams with a 1-5 record? 1% chance. The Falcons must win if they want any chance of making a run for the playoffs this week. Of the 136 teams that have started 1-4, only nine of them have reached the playoffs. Atlanta’s next five opponents have no better than a .500 record. Atlanta is in prime position to turn their season around. Will the seize the opportunity?
The offense should have no problem getting back on track against one of the league’s worst defenses. This will be the first time in back-to-back weeks that the defense will be the same unit. On the outside looking in you would assume the defense is the main problem. However the offensive line has been struggling this year too. Ryan is on pace to be sacked more times than ever before in his career. Both sides of the ball will look to gain momentum in these next two games. It will be vital for the Falcons to head into the bye with a 3-4 record.