Two teams the NFL’s better squads have been using as punching bags meet up, but there can only be one winner.
When the Falcons and Jaguars meet up on Sunday, there won’t be much at stake except pride. The Falcons are technically in the hunt in a very weird, very unsettled NFC, but both of these teams look bad right now.
Adnan Ikic will cover the series history in more detail in his weekly piece on Saturday, but suffice to say the Falcons and Jaguars have been tied together in a lot of interesting ways over the years. Atlanta hired away Mike Smith from Jacksonville as their head coach in 2008, Dirk Koetter as their offensive coordinator in 2012, former Thomas Dimitroff disciple Dave Caldwell spent eight years as the Jaguars general manager, and players whizzed back and forth between the two squads a lot over the years. They also have been familiar preseason foes many times over the years,
Here’s a grab bag of sad sack facts for these two teams:
- They’re a combined 6-14 on the season, having both lost their last two games. They’ve lost those games by a combined score of 30-121.
- Both are bottom five in Football Outsider’s comprehensive DVOA metric, with the Falcons dead last and the Jaguars sitting at 28th
- They have some of the worst point differentials in the league. Only the Jets (-142), Texans (-121), and Lions (-113) are worse than the Falcons (-110) and Jaguars (-103).
As a result of this shakiness, both teams have been get-right squads for good teams, with the Falcons getting crushed by the scuffling Cowboys after a loss to Denver and the Patriots…well, they’re crushing everyone, I guess. The Jaguars have been all too willing and able to get rolled by teams like the Colts and 49ers trying to claw their way back into contention in their respective conferences, as well.
You get the picture. These teams are struggling mightily, but that also makes Sunday’s matchup intriguing in the same way the distant smoke of a tire fire proves to be. What’s going on over there? Is everything on fire, or is this under control? The Falcons having been dealing with a slowly growing pile of injuries that has made their already thin margin for error even thinner and have now shown that good teams—and Dallas has lost two of their last three against the AFC West, so even that’s a little shaky—have shown they can stomp them. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have been trying to get a team featuring the #1 overall pick and consensus top quarterback Trevor Lawrence rolling despite Urban Meyer’s ongoing dysfunction and a lot of bad football. When they meet up this coming weekend, there isn’t a single result that will surprise me, because both teams have shown moderately impressive highs and unfathomable lows already this year.
Will the Falcons get back on their feet against the Jaguars, or will Jacksonville get their third win of the season and dispel the chaos around their franchise for at least one week? Let’s get your early thoughts in the comments.