The Atlanta Falcons have experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any NFL team this season. Heading into their Thursday night showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons find their season at a crossroads.
It would not be hyperbole to say that last Sunday’s come-from-behind win over the Green Bay Packers was the biggest win for the Atlanta Falcons since the victory over Seattle in the 2013 NFC playoffs.
Leading into the Packers game, many fans wondered if they should trust the Falcons. Like a teenager navigating the early stages of a relationship, fans were hesitant at best to trust a team that had lost two straight games after starting 4-1.
One of those losses, the controversial road defeat at Seattle, was justifiable. A home loss to the San Diego Chargers, however, was viewed as inexcusable, and rightly so. That is not a loss characteristic of a contending football team. Feelings of deja vu from last season’s collapse began to sink in.
Then, with his troops trailing by six in the fourth quarter against Green Bay, Matt Ryan morphed into Matty Ice.
Can the Falcons get the job done?
Getting a solid win won’t be easy. The Falcons will be without running back Tevin Coleman, tight end Jacob Tamme and defensive end Dwight Freeney for Thursday night’s game. They will be facing a Buccaneers team that will be fired up for a shot at the division leading Falcons.
However, good teams don’t make excuses. Even without those three players, the Atlanta Falcons should be able to go down to Tampa and get the job done.
If they can do that, the Falcons will establish a stranglehold on the division and prove they’re not the Falcons of 2015.
But if they lose, the doubters will just get louder and louder.