The Atlanta Falcons may be one of the least respected undefeated teams of recent memory.
Even at 7-0, I don’t think a team has been under this much scrutiny for winning games in a league where every Sunday is a battle. In the NFL, no win is guaranteed, regardless how supposedly ‘weak’ the opponent is. I’m not saying that fans should storm the offices of ESPN demanding a front-page article praising our team, but I think it’s something that should be acknowledged.
Some think the scrutiny is justified by the string of bad performances the Falcons had before entering the bye, but I think it should be considered impressive how the Falcons have pulled out wins against the most difficult of odds (Week 4 against the Panthers). Others like to point out the strength of schedule discussing their combined opponent’s record (18-32), but in the NFL, teams don’t have the ‘luxury’ of creating their own schedule; besides, before the season started, some analysts picked the Falcons to MISS the playoffs, citing the schedule (along with the coaching changes) as the reason why. Most though, like to cite the 0-3 playoff record during the Mike Smith-Matt Ryan era as to why they don’t trust the Atlanta Falcons.
There’s no arguing that…
It’s pretty much the elephant in the Atlanta Falcons locker room, and as a matter of fact, I’m sure the main focus for the 2012-13 season is to break down the ‘playoff wall’ that has kept Matt Ryan out of the elite conversation. But, let’s not downplay what the Matt Ryan and the Falcons have accomplished this season and during the Mike Smith era (Matt Ryan’s 19 4th quarter comebacks since 2008, Mike Smith beating Dan Reeves for most wins in franchise history).
The Falcons organization is in uncharted territory. They’re on track to their fifth straight winning season, and with every win they continue to make history. I don’t know if the Falcons will sweep the schedule, but there’s no denying that this is a team with SB talent, it’s evident with how quickly the players have adapted to the coordinator changes.
I thought about Green Bay’s incredible 2011 regular season and even New England’s undefeated regular season back in 2007, remembering the media circus that surrounded the two organizations. Both were picked to win the SB and neither team got it done. So maybe analysts aren’t as quick to crown teams during the regular season for that reason. Still, I don’t think anyone can deny the season the Falcons are starting to put together.