There’s a dilemma many Atlanta Falcons fans find themselves in these days. Their team is floundering, getting worse by the week. They want to cheer for them to win, but realistically they’re unsure if Atlanta will even win another game this season.
So do they root for the team to win each week, or do they come to the conclusion it would be best for the franchise to lose, to ensure it will get a better draft pick in May?
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The best thing for the Falcons right now is for them to lose the rest of their games. This team needs help -- a lot of help. And while it’s tough to think about hoping the team will lose, that’s really what fans need to do.
Sure, cheering against the Falcons on Thursday will be difficult. The enemy is coming to town. Most Falcons fans would rather suffer physical harm than cheer for the New Orleans Saints, but let’s be honest: Does Atlanta even have a realistic chance to beat one of the best teams in the NFC?
No. The Falcons really don’t have a shot. It would be a huge upset if the Falcons beat the Saints on Thursday night.
Therefore, it’s not like fans have to ‘cheer’ for the Falcons to lose. They simply have to let what they expect to happen play out. This Atlanta team is bad enough to take care of business themselves.
The Falcons are horrible. Yes, horrible. This four-game losing streak has been one of the worst in years.
A team that was so close to going to the Super Bowl just 10 months ago is now one of the worst in the NFL. The injuries have been part of the story, but a small part. This team just isn’t any good, and the personnel we thought would keep the team at the top of the NFL has either underperformed or not lived up to expectations.
Blame the front office, which did little to correct the issues that kept this team from the Super Bowl last year. The offensive line is the worst in years. The team let Todd McClure retire and dropped Tyson Clabo, and the replacements have been awful. The linebackers are simply not good, as they still can’t cover tight ends.
Count on your fingers how many players this team can truly build around as foundation players. Matt Ryan is one. Julio Jones is the second one. And, well, that’s about it.
The young cornerbacks, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, have potential. But that’s it. They’re not good enough to where you can say they are foundation players yet, but they at least have a future.
Are there any defensive linemen or linebackers who you would want to give a long-term, big money contract to? No way. Sean Weatherspoon is a nice player, but he has been hurt and still has a lot to prove. Are there any great linemen on defense? No, again.
The point is, this team needs a lot of help. The Falcons need talent. They need high draft picks. And to get that they need to lose so they can be in position to get premium players that can get this franchise back on track.
It’s not like the Falcons are going to need your help in losing the rest of the way. After the Saints game, they have a road game in Toronto against Buffalo. The Bills just blew out the New York Jets. Then they’re on the road in Green Bay, and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers should be back. Good luck with that one.
Washington comes to Atlanta on Dec. 15, and while the Redskins have the worst record left on the schedule, can anyone on Atlanta’s defense stop Robert Griffin III? Then the Falcons go to San Francisco, followed by a home game with red-hot Carolina to finish the season.
The Falcons are 2-8 now and might be lucky to finish with three wins. That might put them in position to draft a star player, like Jadeveon Clowney.
So wear your black and red for every game and outwardly cheer for them to do well. But know deep down in your heart it certainly would be for the best if the Falcons lose the rest of the way.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at www.twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.