The Atlanta Falcons came into the 2013 NFL season with high hopes. Falcons ticket holders watched their team dominate the NFC last season, going 13-3 and taking the top seed only to crumble in the playoffs. But 2013 still looked very promising. Matt Ryan was developing into a crunch quarterback, Tony Gonzales decided to give it another go, and with promising young receivers like Julio Jones around Atlanta has every expectation of being in the thick of things come playoff time.Adding Steven Jackson seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle.
But all those threads have unraveled for the Falcons and the challenge is now finding a way to win now that the moxie seems to be gone. Steven Jackson is injured, leaving the running game wanting. Somehow Matt Ryan has lost his touch. The Falcons are 1-4 with two losses coming after Atlanta reached Red Zone territory against the Saints and Patriots in the waning seconds and just couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. Roddy White is injured and now it seems the Falcons have lost Julio Jones for the season. Just about every adversity that could be thrown Atlanta’s way has hit.
But Falcons ticket holders have to believe that their team can find a way to fight back. Atlanta is basically a good football team across the board. Younger players will have to step up and get it done. Though the NFC South looks to be out of reach at this point with the New Orleans Saints playing well and at 5-0, it’s not out of the question for the Falcons to get a playoff spot. Mike Smith will have to make adjustments. Jackson should be ready to go this week or next. Things aren’t hopeless just yet.
If there’s anything NFL ticket holders know it’s that things aren’t over till they’re over. The Atlanta Falcons are looking at three very winnable games in the next three weeks with Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Carolina on the schedule. Winning those puts them at 4-4 halfway through the season. The last half includes the Buccaneers and Panthers again, plus a game against the beatable Buffalo Bills. Somehow or another the Falcons will have to find a way to beat Seattle, New Orleans, Green Bay, or San Francisco in some combination of three to get to 9-7 or 10-6. That’s a challenge.Eric Drouant