Do the Falcons have one last push?

The Atlanta Falcons had a less than glorious end to the 2012 NFL season, and the end to the 2013 season may be even less glorious than that.

The Falcons lost last year’s NFC Championship game 28-24 to the San Francisco 49ers. Atlanta jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in that game before being outscored by thee touchdowns the rest of the way.

The hangover effect is ever present.

An underwhelming 2-6 start to the season doesn’t begin to tell the story.

One of the runaway favorites in the preseason to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, the Falcons now look more like a runaway freight train on the verge of being derailed.

That fact was never more present than in the 34-10 debacle in Carolina this past Sunday.

Usually efficient Matt Ryan threw three interceptions and did not look like the Pro Bowl quarterback we’ve seen over the past few years.

In fact, his subpar play on the road with the rest of the Falcons is the reason they are in their current predicament.

The Falcons are 0-4 on the road this season. Ryan has completed 62 percent of his passes but has thrown only six touchdowns to nine interceptions.

The defense is giving up 28 points a game on the road as well, but they aren’t much better at home, either.

Over the tenure of Matt Ryan’s career, the Falcons have been pretty much unbeatable at home during the regular season posting a record of 33-7 entering this season. The Falcons have split their four games at the Georgia Dome thus far.

Their two wins were against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who haven’t won a game all season, and the 3-6 St. Louis Rams.

Once the cream of the crop of the NFL, the Falcons are now looking just to get to the postseason.

Do they have a shot?

It is very possible. Despite sputtering through the first half of the season, they are just three games out of the last wild card spot. Anything can happen over the span of eight weeks.

They have also been riddled with injuries. Steven Jackson was hurt early in the season and Julio Jones as of late. Roddy White has been battling a hamstring issue all season. Once healthy, they could make a push. Not to mention Tony Gonzalez has been the model of consistency in his 17th season.

Yes, it is very possible the Atlanta Falcons could make the playoffs.

Possible, but not likely.

The most glaring point of interest in their remaining schedule is that they are yet to defeat a team that is .500 or better.

Left on the schedule are home games against Seattle, New Orleans, Carolina and a pair of tough road games at Green Bay and at San Francisco, all matchups that don’t favor Atlanta.

They have also yet to post a road victory. Aside from Green Bay and San Francisco, the Falcons will travel to Tampa Bay, which they will most likely win, and to Buffalo, which isn’t as likely but still favors Atlanta.

The only other contest that wasn’t mentioned is a Dec. 15 home game against the Washington Redskins. Depending on what Redskins team shows up, it could go either way.

There is no measuring stick for intangibles such as a team’s will or newfound rhythm. Fans are also devoid of the ability to predict injuries to players at key positions around the league.

If everything holds true to its current form, however, the best Falcons fans could hope for is a 5-3 finish down the stretch. That would make them 7-9 on the season and likely ineligible for the playoffs.

A less than glorious season is sure to produce a more than dramatic offseason.

Spencer is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]