It certainly seems that way. The Falcons have turned the ball over 7 times in the past three games. In the first eleven games of the season, the Falcons had a total of 11 turnovers. The Falcons have had a negative turnover ratio in each of the past five games. We’ve managed to win three of those games, despite our own mistakes.
But at this rate, if the Falcons do make the playoffs they look like they will be limping into it.
Right now, it looks like next week’s game will be just as big as any this season. We travel to Minnesota next week, and as of the current standings it looks like we will be facing the Vikings again on the road in the first round of the playoffs. There’s still a mathematical chance we can win the division (and thus host our first round game), but that seems to hinge on the chance that either the Chargers or Raiders can go into Tampa Bay and win there. When you consider the Bucs are undefeated at home this year and those two teams are a combined 4-10 on the road, I’m not going to hold my breath.
I know some of you are reading this thinking that I should just be content that we are even in the playoff picture. And I am happy for this team. But I’d be even happier if we could actually win a playoff game.
But the Falcons aren’t playing right now like they want to win a playoff game. They are playing like their season is over.
And I can’t help but notice that this supposed wall we’ve hit seems to coincide with the time period that rookies start to hit the wall. Matt Ryan did not play well today vs. the Bucs, but I wouldn’t call his performances against the Saints, Chargers, or Panthers subpar. But if Ryan is the leader of this team, and while it may not exactly show on the field, is he mentally tired from the grueling NFL season? And if your best player is mentally exhausted, wouldn’t it make sense that would spread to the rest of the team?
If the Falcons have a convincing win against the Vikings next week, most of my concerns will certainly evaporate. But if the Falcons are once more sluggish offensively, then I’m ready to concede that they have packed it in and will only be going through the motions the remaining game(s).