Week 16 was a huge letdown for the Atlanta Falcons and everyone involved—physically or emotionally—with the franchise.
Instead of potentially competing in Week 17 for the NFC South title, they had their doors blown off by the New Orleans Saints, and now could end up with the last seed for the playoffs.
It was a bleak reminder of just how tough the Saints have been to beat. Fortunately for Atlanta, the final week of the season is nowhere near the level of adversity they faced in their previous matchup.
Tampa Bay rolls into town for a Week 17 showdown with nothing on the line. The wheels have not just fallen off for the Buccaneers, they have disappeared entirely. Raheem Morris has been placed on the proverbial hot seat, as his club has dropped nine games straight.
Long ago in Week 4 Tampa found itself on a three-game winning streak. The Bucs have won just one game since.
After this unfortunate run of failure, you should see why the Falcons can be optimistic about Week 17. They may have lost to Tampa in their first game of the series this season, but this time around Atlanta will prove who the dominant team is.
Here are some reasons why.