In the late hours of Thursday night, the NFL had a blockbuster trade go down. The San Francisco 49ers acquired Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a bevy of draft picks. Ian Rapoport reports that haul of picks:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 21, 2022
Somehow, the Falcons are beneficiaries of this deal. Atlanta already played the Niners, which was by far the best win of the season and maybe of Arthur Smith’s tenure. And the Falcons play the Panthers two times in the next four weeks. All three matchups will be facing a McCaffrey-less offense. Sometimes, it’s not about who you play but when you play them. And the Falcons have been extremely lucky in that department.
Atlanta has faced several injury-riddled teams. To start, the Rams were dealing with multiple injured offensive linemen. Then, the Seahawks were without Jamal Adams. The Bucs were down multiple wideouts. But it gets even better for the Dirty Birds. In the team’s past two wins, the Falcons have faced defenses missing their top player. The Browns were without Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, and the 49ers were without Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Javon Kinlaw.
To be fair, the Falcons have been missing Cordarrelle Patterson for the past two weeks and missed Kyle Pitts for one game. But, for the most part, Atlanta has been relatively healthy so far. Casey Hayward was just placed on the IR, but two significant injuries aren’t even close to the attrition teams like the Niners and Chargers are dealing with.
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