November 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
As we all know, the Falcons regular season schedule was released last night. I will add my two cents (along with every single blogger on every single Atlanta sports site on Earth). But I don’t want to talk about strength of schedule or how each match up is going to go. I want to talk best and worst case scenarios. Yesterday I made the best and worst case scenario of what the Falcons schedule could be, but now we know what it is.
Some things you have to take into consideration when looking at the Falcons is that they don’t lose twice. I heard an old saying that great teams don’t lose twice in a row. Even when stacked with two back to back tough games, the falcons rarely lose twice in a row. I think that sticks this season. Regardless of what their record is, they won’t lose back to back.
Streaks are everything. Sometimes the Falcons can get going on a nice streak and use the momentum to boost themselves into winning a game they probably shouldn’t have won. A two game streak helped give Atlanta a boost going against New Orleans at home last season. There are plenty of opportunities this coming season that could help Atlanta win over a tough team.
On the off chance you haven’t seen the schedule yet, here it is:
Week 1: @ New Orleans
Week 2: St. Louis
Week 3: @Miami
Week 4: New England
Week 5: N.Y. Jets
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Tampa Bay
Week 8: @ Arizona
Week 9: @ Carolina
Week 10: @ Tampa Bay
Week 11: Seattle
Week 12: New Orleans
Week 13: @Buffalo
Week 14: @ Green Bay
Week 15: Washington
Week 16: @ San Francisco
Week 17: Carolina
Looking at this schedule, there are things to get excited about, and things to be worried about. Opening the season in New Orleans isn’t going to be a joy ride and that game may have a huge impact on the early part of the season. If they pull out a win then, they could be on a three-game win streak when hosting New England. That could be huge. What happens in week 1 could be the difference in going into the BYE week 5-0 or 3-2 and two losses will weigh heavy later in the year.
They also need to play well against Tampa (which they usually do at home not including last year) because that’s the last home game before embarking on a three week trip to Arizona, Carolina, and back to Tampa bay. None of those are easy wins and they need to win most of them to keep up strong momentum. But if they do, then a win streak could also help in coming home to play Seattle and New Orleans. Considering those games are back to back, I can almost guarantee you that the Falcons won’t lose both of them.
Then it gets fun. December rolls around and we’re going north. Playing Buffalo shouldn’t be a factor considering it’s in a roofed stadium in Toronto, but the following week could be a very tough game against Green Bay in cold, COLD, weather. At least a home game against Washington and a most likely banged up Robert Griffin III should get them back on their feet before heading over to San Francisco for what could very well be a make-it-or-break-it game for one or both teams. Finishing the season at home against Carolina may be just what we need.
After looking over the schedule and what professional pickers are choosing (I take their opinion with a grain of salt considering how little they actually know about the falcons minus raw statistics) I can predict the best and worst-case scenarios for the season.
Worst-case Scenario: 8-8. A lot of tough games and if they drop some important early games, the rest of the season could dismantle them.
Best-case Scenario: 13-3. The schedule is tougher than the falcons are better next year, but you can’t count the Falcons out ever. If the team stays healthy and gets those improbable wins at the most opportune times, the Falcons could use streaks and a powerful team to move into a first round BYE of the Playoffs.
Most Likely: 10-6. The Falcons can beat anyone, but you can’t expect them to with this many great teams. They could also easily go 11-5, but with a tough schedule and a few injuries here and there, the Falcons are going to have to play lights out at the end of the season because they’ll most likely be fighting for a playoff spot.
I still believe there are great things to come and if they can keep winning like they did last season, they could surprise us all. How do you think they will do this season?