Coach Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has always broken down the season into four four-game quarters. They were 1-3 in the first quarter and have started the second quarter now 0-1, having lost three games in a row for the first time in Smith’s regime. Now going into the bye week, the Falcons have the chance to get their house in order and get some key players healthy for what could be the longest 11 game run the Falcons and fans have faced since Smith arrived.
First is running back Stephen Jackson, having missed three games after injuring his hamstring in Week 2. His loss has cost the Falcons in the red zone, where the Falcons have struggled. He was brought in to be key piece of the running game that would have helped push the Falcons into the Super Bowl. Now with wide receiver Julio Jones done for the season and Roddy White reinjuring his ankle that he hurt in preseason, Jackson’s presence is more important than ever.
Now it’s unclear whether the defense can hold up having already lost defensive end Kroy Biermann for the year and Sean Weatherspoon has been out for a while. After New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith moved all over the Falcons last Monday night, especially on the game winning drive, the real key to the rest of the Falcons season is if they can stop those key third down plays that so many teams seem to always pick up against the Falcons.
All is not lost but the next few weeks are very key for the team. If they can string together a few wins and get some momentum back, a wild card berth might still be within their grasp.