This Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will be traveling to Ohio to face the Cleveland Browns in what is a must win game for both franchises.
Last week, the Atlanta Falcons had a strong showing against the Washington Redskins. Fans of the Falcons will hope that the team can continue their renewed playoff push and maybe squeeze out a Wildcard berth.
That said, if the Falcons are unable to rally and steal a win on the road against the rudderless Cleveland Browns, Atlanta’s season is likely over. The state of the NFC South is simply more competitive than we initially imagined. It is growing more likely that the Saints either win the NFC outright or finish second thus winning the division and picking up a first-round bye.
The Carolina Panthers have been a shocking team and have outkicked all expectations I had for them heading into the 2018-2019 season. Currently, they are slotted to finish as an 11-5 team. If the Saints win the division and the Panthers pick up a Wildcard bid then it is unlikely the Falcons will scratch the playoffs.
Luckily for the Falcons, the Browns are a franchise in disarray after firing head coach Hue Jackson two weeks ago. Even though the Falcons have a depleted defense (the recent signing of linebacker Bruce Irvin will help that out), they should still have the offensive firepower to thrash the undermanned Browns.
One matchup that will be interesting to watch will be how does Baker Mayfield fare against a defense that has been consistently abused by quarterbacks this season.
Ultimately, I envision this game being won and lost by the Falcons offensive line. If the big boys up front can create time for Ryan to be a playmaker from the pocket, this should be a runaway game. That said, the Browns have fielded an excellent defense this season and does feature star pass rusher, Myles Garrett.
If the Falcons are unable to contain Garrett and Ryan is forced to throw outside of the pocket, the outcome of this game could surprise a few people.
Atlanta Falcons 27, Cleveland Browns 13