OK, let's play that game.
I think if the Falcons lose in 2 weeks, Mike Smith will keep his job. I think Arthur Blank will be on the warpath. I think you're going to see some changes, but I don't think they include the head coach.
Maybe that means new coordinators, after all maybe one of the reasons we lose is because our OC and/or DC is focused on a new gig.
But I think there is going to be the pressure this off-season for the Falcons to make a splash. I don't know what that splash will be, but I think when Arthur Blank has calmed down from his tantrum, TD won't be able to convince him like last year that to keep to the path. A player like Jake Long could be in the cards, especially if the O-line struggles in the playoff loss. Maybe Freeney, maybe Ed Reed, I don't know, but some big sexy pickup.
I think the dark cloud hangs over Smith and this team all off-season. 2013 will be an ultimatum season.
Mike Smith got an extension in 2011, meaning he is currently signed through 2014. Around the time when the Falcons could/should be breaking ground on the new stadium. If the Falcons don't win in the playoffs in 2013, that means Smith will have 1 year left on his contract. He'll be looking to get an extension after the season. No playoff win, and he's done. Wins, and he gets a modest extension, but he's on a short leash, and if they get bounced early again in 2014, then he too is bounced. Dimitroff will be kept on to hire a new coach, but if that guy doesn't have quick success, then he too might be gone by the time 2016 rolls around, with a brand new regime ready to take over in 2017 or 2018, the year the new stadium opens. Blank needs that hope that comes with a new coach if he has any chance of selling PSLs to the fan base.
Basically if the Falcons don't win this year, things are going to start to unravel. If they win, none of these issues come forth. If they win in 2 weeks, and then play tough, hard-fought game in the NFC Championship, then Smitty probably gets an extension this upcoming off-season with probably 1 or 2 years added to his deal. Then the confidence level in Atlanta is high even with the roster turnover that could happen this off-season. The fans will be optimistic that this team is on the brink, which means Blank is more easily able to get them to shell out $$ for PSLs. He probably sends out letters saying, "Hey you can start making payments towards 2017/18 right now!"
Now if they win in 2 weeks, and then get blasted in the NFC Championship game, you probably don't have the extension nor the high degree of optimism. But you definitely get a Falcon team that is taking steps forward, you maintain the status quo and you have a fan base that is cautiously optimistic. It's a middle ground between the two poles.
Obviously going to and/or winning the Super Bowl is the ideal scenario where everything becomes gumdrops and rainbows.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.