I could write a cookie-cutter piece and apply it each week the Falcons play. All that would be necessary would be to replace the opposing team and score each week, and it would make sense. “Falcons lose to _____ by ______ after leading by ______ in the first half.”
Now that the Falcons are 0-3 for the first time in Matt Ryan’s career, they will look to squeak out their first win in 2020 against a red-hot Packers team to avoid going 0-4 for the first time since 1999 and will have a daunting task trying to contain a revitalized Aaron Rodgers on Monday Night Football.
I actually believe this team improved in some areas from a season ago. The defense is better against the run, the offense is still spectacular at times, and I even think moral is still strong despite doing something no other NFL team has done — giving up back-to-back 15-point leads in the final quarter of play. Despite that, they still seem to have confidence in the coaching staff.
“Yeah, we have coach Quinn’s back,” cornerback Darqueze Dennard said. “DQ is a great coach. I love him. I know the rest of the guys in the locker room love him. It’s just, it’s kind of disappointing for me because he (does) a great job with everything. We are just not getting the results that we all want”
Dennard is not the only one who voiced his love for his head coach and pointed the finger elsewhere. Calvin Ridley called out himself and other players.
“It’s on us,” Ridley said. “We are not playing. It’s on us. We have to win the games. We have to do better as players. That’s all it is I have to make plays. We have to make plays.”
It is almost unfathomable that the Falcons found a way to lose these past two weeks, and the players are recognizing their epic defeats but remain optimistic.
“I do not know how to explain it,” Dante Fowler said. “All I can say is that we have basically found the ways to lose these games. It gets no worse than this. We found probably the two worst ways to lose a football game. I feel like it can only come up from here. It can only be better from here.”
The Falcons have had no issues putting up points; they are averaging 30 points per game — good for fifth in the league. The concern is defensively, and things will not get easier for the struggling Atlanta defense against the Green Bay Packers, who lead the league in scoring, averaging 40.7 points per game. The playoff window is barely open, and a loss on Monday would just about close it completely. The 1992 San Diego Chargers are the only team to start 0-4 and still make the playoffs.
The early betting lines have the Falcons as touchdown underdogs for their matchup against the Packers in Lambeau. Green Bay’s defense is suspect against the run and has a real liability at the inside linebacker position. Even though the Falcons offense is one of the most productive passing groups, the rushing attack is bottom half in the league. They will have to be persistent in running the football or risk having Green Bay’s pass rush gain momentum.
The Packers have a balanced offense, ranking in the top five for both passing and rushing yards per game. Atlanta’s defense has been decent at stopping the run but has been miserable at stopping the pass. That is concerning when playing an offensive juggernaut like the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is looking like vintage Rodgers, and it could be a long Monday night if the Falcons do not show up for all four quarters.