Atlanta Falcons 2014 Season Preview and Predictions

3 of 4

Schedule and Season Predictions

Sep 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) greets Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) midfield following the Saints 23-17 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1: New Orleans Saints (9/7, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 2: @Cincinnati Bengals (9/14, 1 p.m., CBS)
Week 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Thursday 9/18, 8:25 p.m., CBS)
Week 4: @Minnesota Vikings (9/28, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 5: @New York Giants (10/5, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 6: Chicago Bears (10/12, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 7: @Baltimore Ravens (10/19, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 8: Detroit Lions (10/26, 9:30 a.m., London, FOX)
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11/9, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 11: @Carolina  Panthers (11/16, 1 p.m., FOX)
Week 12: Cleveland Browns (11/23, 1 p.m., CBS) 
Week 13: Arizona Cardinals (11/30, 4:05 p.m., FOX)
Week 14: @Green Bay Packers (12/8, 8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Week 15: Pittsburgh Steelers (12/14, 1 p.m., CBS)
Week 16: @New Orleans Saints (12/21, 1 p.m., FOX) 
Week 17: Carolina Panthers (12/28, 1 p.m., FOX)

Schedule Analysis: The Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN, have the 11th toughest schedule in the NFL. Coming from a division that includes the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and the re-built Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the hard games don’t come with too much surprise.

Prediction: Aside from their own division, the Atlanta Falcons should be able to pull off the 9-7 record with a possible trip to the NFL playoffs. Let’s go by these games one by one.

Week 1 vs Saints: LOSS
Week 2 at Bengals: LOSS
Week 3 vs Buccaneers: WIN
Week 4 at Vikings: WIN
Week 5 at Giants: WIN
Week 6 vs Bears: WIN
Week 7 at Ravens: WIN
Week 8 vs Lions: LOSS
Week 9: BYE
Week 10 at Buccaneers: WIN
Week 11 at Panthers: LOSS
Week 12 vs Browns: WIN
Week 13 vs Cardinals: LOSS
Week 14 at Packers: WIN
Week: 15 vs Steelers: WIN
Week 16 at Saints: LOSS
Week 17 vs Panthers: LOSS

Best Case Scenario: 12-4: Let’s be honest, the Falcons probably won’t get to this mark. Matt Ryan and his elite offense will have to meet their expectations, which is high, and the defense will have to play at least like they did against the Tennessee Titans in preseason week three. Steven Jackson or his “little” apprentice Jacquizz will need to complement Ryan with at least “a top 10 running back in the NFL” and of course Julio Jones would have to perform like his talent is asking him to do. Listen, I know it is a little harsh to expect so much from this offense, but this defense just isn’t good enough..

Worst Case Scnario: 4-12: Oh no, not that 4-12 record again? Don’t panic. This scenario is as unlikely to happen as the best case scenario for the Atlanta Falcons. With this disastrous record, I see a vision where the defense allows over 350 passing yards every game, while the secondary gets beat game in and game out. The pass rush will be sub-par, with second round pick Rashede Hageman struggling to have that confidence in his pocket. But even if the Dirty BIrd seriously does this horrendous again, I can almost guarantee that the offense will still be very good (unless, God forbid, there’s an injury). The combination of Ryan, Julio, and Roddy will be too much for opposing teams to handle, not to mention Devin Hester will be a serious offensive weapon this year.

Team MVP: Julio Jones. Jones beats out Matt Ryan for the team MVP. I expect Julio to be a savage out there on the field all year, ripping apart defenses with his speed and ability. Heck, look at this catch he made in the preseason, why shouldn’t we expect so highly of number 11?