The three month winter that has followed the January NFC loss is distant history. The 2013 NFL schedule has been published in stone, and the NFL draft is just a few days away.
The schedule has the Atlanta Falcons in the National spotlight multiple times and it is time to put all the work sustained during the Smith / Ryan era to shine, showcase and secure the Super Bowl berth appearance for this team, that has accomplished all else, and to suffice expectations for the hungry Falcon nation.
No more rehearsing and nursing the part, they know every part by heart. !!!
This established playoff team opens 2013 with a important road visit to the Superdome to take on the rival
New Orleans Saints. With the return of coach Sean Peyton this will be the usual hostile venue the Falcons
must endure mentally and physically throughout the year to reach the elevated goal already mentioned.
Peyton’s return will inspire but I’m wondering if he’ll have patched by opening day a defense that surrendered over four hundred points last season. These teams know each other well and it is Atlanta’s fourth straight year opening on the road. Smith and staff should have them prepared. A successful start followed by a home opener against the St. Louis Rams minus one Steven Jackson would be the recipe all Bird lovers could hope and wish for.
The bye week (wk 6) comes a little earlier for my liking but does come after a Monday night match with the Jets and prior to a division showdown with Tampa Bay. The Thursday night (Nov. 21) National televised game with the Saints is almost exactly one year from same match up last season that sent a definitive message to the NFC South and introduced to the nation a wild Dome that has become as tough as any place for a visiting team to succeed. December opens with back to back trips northward to play Buffalo and Green Bay. Atlanta has become a good road team and neither of these teams have improved as Atlanta has over the winter. Falcons should do just fine especially if Global warming is in evidence.
A pre Christmas Monday night game at San Francisco is a long way from even appearing on Atlanta radar.
Injuries, other misfortunes, turnover problems can affect a NFL season for any team, but at this juncture this looks to be a playoff match-up for sure. Last season at this point in the schedule Atlanta had the South won but this game might be for the playoff home field desired when playing cross country solid opponents.
I did not dissect the entire schedule, that will be done by many fine writers no doubt, knowing this is the task Atlanta has been dealt and although tougher than 2012, good teams meet these challenges in stride and roll on. The Atlanta Falcons are a good team. They can in 2013 establish themselves an elite Super Bowl worthy contender and showcase a power in the NFL to be reckoned with for years, and silencing the whispers of a soft schedule, for they play many of the leagues best this time around.. This is a team that has many pieces established, great coaching staff, some solid depth, loyal excited fan base, and even a sometimes overlooked but important kicking game.
The missing piece, fill the final hole, the injection that can bring Super Status to the Nest is with the draft in a few days. Atlanta has Four ‘needs’ I feel with eleven draft picks. Cornerback, defensive line, tight end, and Offensive line are what I’d consider must targets. I trust Dimitroff and staff would even trade some picks to move up and obtain targets they have put on the war room board deemed plus players.
Cornerback is first priority, and pass rush help would give the defense the pieces Nolan needs to take the defense a notch above last year. Both these holes can take a couple of draft picks from the Falcon arsenal
as far as I’m concerned. Limiting opposing offenses is huge when knowing the Falcons are so potent on that side of the ball in the scheme to succeed every game. One of the Fourth round picks can be utilized to get the tight end piece, perhaps Travis Kelce of Cincinnati or Ryan Otten out of San Jose State, both are good sized receivers who had solid senior seasons and would be excellent tutoring subjects for Tony G.
A depth pick on an offensive lineman would be a smart move and another cornerback in a late round not at all absurd. The Falcons have positioned themselves in the NFC South for a first ever back to back title, have the picks (11) to fill highlighted specialized priority needs (4) and will play on the National stage as often as any team this season to achieve new respectful heights.
Overture, curtains, lights – This is it, they’ll hit the heights, And oh what heights we’ll hit, –
On with the show this is it.