Can The Falcons ‘Bottle Up’ Colts Win?

December 26, 2023
1 min read

Fresh off breaking their two-game losing skid, the 7-8 Atlanta Falcons are looking to start a new streak, except this time, one that has them on the winning side. 

After falling to third in the NFC South following their embarrassing 9-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, the Falcons have moved back into second place thanks to their 29-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. 

However, the sense of gratification can’t linger in Flowery Branch as the Falcons’ playoff hopes are still uncertain. The Falcons not only need to win out in their final two regular-season games but need the current NFC South front-running Tampa Bay Buccaneers to lose. 

However, even without the sense of being able to control their own destiny in the final two games, the Falcons are focused on overcoming their recent struggles on the road with a win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

“Well, we have found a way to win a few at least. Some of them have been, really the last two, Jets and Carolina, the weather’s been a factor too, …” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said of their struggles away from home. “I don’t know if I’ve been in many games like the Carolina one where it was wind and rain. Jets was similar to that. Found a way in New York, but certainly we need to play like we did this week. Really both times we’ve hit adversity, New Orleans and this one, we’ve played our best football, so we need to bottle that up for sure.”

When their backs have been against the wall, the Falcons have played some of their best football. Coming out of the bye week riding a three-game losing streak, the Falcons were faced with essentially a “do-or-die” game with the New Orleans Saints. 

Despite a less-than-stellar performance, the Falcons managed to ride a 10-point fourth quarter to victory and take control of the NFC South. However, Atlanta’s time in control lasted just one more week, as following their sloppy 13-8 win over the New York Jets, they dropped the next two games to the Buccaneers and Panthers, once again putting their backs up against a wall ahead of the Colts. 

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With the season at stake, as the Falcons could ill-afford a third straight loss, they made another change at quarterback, benching second-year signal-caller Desmond Ridder in favor of Taylor Heinicke. This made it the third time this season that the Falcons have made a switch at quarterback, and this time, it seemed to have paid off as Heinicke led the Falcons to a 19-point win, their largest of the season. 

As Smith said, the Falcons will look to “bottle up” that performance and replicate it in the final two games as they hope to end a six-year playoff drought. 

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