ATLANTA -- The Falcons have zero hope of winning the NFC South and are clinging to just a thread of playoff hope heading into Week 13 of the 2019 season. The season could officially be done by the end of Thanksgiving night.
Whether it is or not, it won't matter all that much to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. As cliché as it sounds, the 34-year-old made it clear in his postgame press conference following the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday that he approaches every week with the "mindset to go out there and deliver your best performance."
"We're professionals," Ryan said. "Any chance that we get to go out there and compete and play the way the game is supposed to be played and the way we're capable of, to me, that's part of being in this league.
Ryan added that he likes "having that professional pride" and that he always goes "out there to play to win."
The Falcons have possessed one of the toughest schedules in the league this season, and that will continue in the final five weeks of 2019. That means more tough competition, but it also means facing teams fighting for playoff spots and positioning.
Ryan didn't specifically bring up playing the role of a spoiler, but that's what the Falcons can do to cap off what's been a very disappointing year.
Atlanta can get started with that mindset Thursday when the Saints come to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a 8:20 pm ET showdown. The Falcons already defeated the Saints in New Orleans, 26-9, on Nov. 10.