The loss on Sunday was no fun, that’s for sure. But a lot of Falcons fans are already jumping off the bridge. I want to put out my expectations and what the Falcons can do.
With an 11-5 record, the Atlanta Falcons can win the NFC South. I fully believe the Saints to be in contention, but I do not believe that can get any more than 11 wins. Considering they have roughly the same schedule Atlanta does and not as much talent, they won’t have any more than 10 wins.
Of the 5 losses I am allowing of the Falcons, they start out the season with one of them. Luckily, even with a hard schedule, they only play a handful of teams that could compete with them on their best day. Those teams are New England, Seattle, Green Bay, and San Francisco. If Atlanta beats every team that they should, and lose to those four teams, they will end the season 11-5 winning the NFC South.
It won’t be as clean cut as that. I’ll be far more worried if that is the case since that would mean the Falcons played their best games throughout the entire season and still came up short against bigger opponents. What will most likely happen is that the Falcons will beat two of those four teams, and lose to two teams they have no business losing to. Let me break down what will most likely happen.
Of those four teams, Atlanta will beat Seattle and New England. Both are in the Dome. New England will most likely have Gronk back and will, as always, put up a good fight. But since the Falcons are showing a strong run defense and have decent corners, the Patriots will have difficulty scoring on Atlanta. The Falcons will simply outscore the Patriots and win the big home game.
Seattle will come back and look for vengeance. It will play out similarly to the last time they came. It’ll be a very close game and most likely slightly low scoring. The Seattle offense isn’t quite as explosive as their defense. Seattle will hold Atlanta to under 30 and vice versa. The fact it will be in the Dome will determine who the winner is.
Traveling to Green Bay in December is nearly a death sentence. I don’t believe the cold will effect Matt Ryan as much since he was born in raised in the cold northeast, but the atmosphere that Lambeau has in cold weather is very difficult to overcome.
As For San Francisco, they look very complete. I don’t think that Colin Kaepernick can play like he did against Green Bay every day, but it certainly won’t be easy to win in the bay.
As for the random two losses, it could come from anywhere. Arizona has a passer and a home game. It could be a trap game, as well as the saints coming to Atlanta with a head full of steam. But I think that the two losses come from within the division. Both road games could provide too much tension and the Falcons could get over taken by a few mistakes.
A wildcard option would be that Miami surprises Atlanta while they sweep the Panthers. On the other hand, the Falcons could still easily go 12-4 and even get a first round bye. But none of this matters if the Offense doesn’t start working as well as it could. I don’t think that’ll be a problem for long, Matt Ryan should have a field day against St. Louis.