Falcons at Texans
Where: NRG Stadium
Time: 1:00 Eastern Time
Line: Texans -5
The Falcons limp into October with a porous 1-3 record after back-to-back ugly losses to the Colts and Titans.
Meanwhile, their NFC South foes have started to put it together even without their starting quarterbacks. It’s rare to call the first game in October a must-win, but it’s challenging to look at it any other way for Atlanta this week. If they fall to 1-4, the playoffs will be nothing but a mere pipe dream, and Dan Quinn might find himself without a job before the season’s over.
Perhaps the most puzzling issue the Falcons have experienced thus far is their offensive output. This is a unit that features stars all around, but Dirk Koetter has wholly failed at putting together a quality gameplan. Atlanta is only averaging 17.5 points per contest, which is worse than the Kyler Murray led Arizona Cardinals. This is an offense that averaged nearly double that (33.8 points per game) when they went to the Super Bowl back in 2016, and the personnel was not much different. Hell, the offensive firepower might even be better now than it was back then. It’s unacceptable, and fans have the right to question whether Koetter should have ever been brought back to Atlanta.
Unfortunately, the task does not get any easier this week. The Falcons have to go back on the road – where they are winless in two tries – and face perhaps the best team in the AFC South. The Texans, led by Deshaun Watson, are 2-2 and coming off a discouraging home loss to the Panthers. It’s not unfathomable for the Falcons to pull something similar off, but look for Houston to come out much more prepared following a game they felt slipped away.
Don’t let DeAndre Hopkins beat you
I haven’t been shy about bringing up Dan Quinn’s record against AFC opponents. The Falcons are 1-9 in their last ten cross-conference matchups, losing six straight, and the Texans are one of the better teams they will face all season. Combine that with how poorly Atlanta has looked in their first two road games; I don’t know how you can consciously pick the Falcons in this game. The NFL is a wonky league, where any team can win on any given week. Atlanta has all the talent in the world, so they can pull off the upset, but I’m not going to be the one betting on it. I see 1-4 ahead, as the Falcons lose their third straight game to an AFC South opponent.
Texans 34, Falcons 24