Does a playoff push make sense for the Atlanta Falcons' long-term future?

Should the Falcons actually be in what Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot call "win-now" mode?

The Atlanta Falcons are in a weird spot when it comes to their 2021 campaign.

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The team is 4-6, and currently last in the NFC South. However, with the Dirty Birds being in a struggling NFC, and an even more struggling NFC division, they find themselves coming in to Sunday’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars just one game out of second in the NFC South, and just one game out of a seventh seed, and a Wild Card playoff spot.

Now, it’s not impossible, but the Falcons aren’t necessarily looking like Super Bowl contenders right now. So the question is what would help the Falcons more, making a playoff push and getting the young guys some experience, or getting the highest draft pick possible?

To be honest, the Falcons may be able to do both.

It’s unlikely, but the Falcons could very well get a Wild Card spot with just nine wins this season. And if they finish this year with a 9-8 record, that will still probably put them in line for a solid middle-of-the-road, first-round pick. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself is a middle-of-the-road, first-round pick really that good?

Well, first of all any first-round pick should be good. But in what should be a lineman-favored 2022 NFL Draft, the Falcons could again try and find a good piece to help block for Matt Ryan, which D. Orlando Ledbetter of The AJC explained to Sam and Greg this morning is a big reason for the Falcons struggles this season.

“They put him back 5 yards in the shotgun, he took two steps and launched it, and was getting hit," said the long-time Falcons beat reporter. "So they know they have limited time back there and they’ve been able to craft it early on. But you know now people are jumping them routes, and he’s gotta change up the route combination to get the people back open again. So that’s where they are at and that’s not on Matt Ryan, that’s on film study, and the other team doing their homework.”

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However, the Falcons do have a pretty favorable schedule down the stretch, as their final games remaining are as follows:

Week 12: Jaguars
Week 13: Buccaneers
Week 14: Panthers
Week 15: 49ers
Week 16: Lions
Week 17: Bills
Week 18: Saints

The Falcons are definitely in a good position to make a playoff push starting this afternoon with the opponent being rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jacksonville Jaguars, who D. Orlando Ledbetter says “is having a bad first season.” If the Falcons do want to make a playoff push though, they have a slim margin for error.

Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot since the beginning of the season have told their fans, and the media, that this team is in a “win-now” mode. But should they be?