The Atlanta Falcons enter their Thursday night time showdown towards the New Orleans Saints getting ready to playoff extinction.
At 7-5, they’re presently the 7th seed within the six-workforce NFC playoff hunt. And with 4 video games left, time is shortly expiring on them.
The Falcons have been additionally 7-5 in Week 14 a yr in the past, ran the desk and earned the No. 2 seed within the NFC playoffs. However the NFC is rather more aggressive this season. An eleven-5 document may earn a No. 5 or 6 seed at greatest this yr.
However, a win towards the archrival Saints would maintain Atlanta’s faint playoff hopes alive and positively hold them in rivalry within the NFC South division race.
The Falcons swept the Saints final season and scored 38 and forty five factors within the two conferences. That’s greater than they’ve scored in any recreation this season as their as soon as excessive-powered offense has misplaced its explosiveness.
The Falcons are scoring about 10 factors much less and gaining about 50 yards fewer per recreation than they did a yr in the past. Their common achieve per play has dropped from 6.7 to six.1 and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has come underneath hearth in his first season as Kyle Shanahan’s alternative.
The Falcons entered the season with excessive expectations. They have been coming off an NFC title and launching their first season within the glitzy Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They seemed like shoo-ins for the playoffs.
However since a three-zero begin, they’ve sputtered to 4 wins in 9 video games, together with three losses at house. Amongst them, again-to-again inexplicable setbacks to the moribund Payments and Dolphins.
The Falcons’ 14-9 loss to Minnesota final week makes this Saints recreation a should-win proposition. Or the Falcons will discover themselves labeled as the newest victims of the dreaded Tremendous Bowl curse.
A take a look at this week’s video games and picks: