By now, we all know about Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, and what this could possibly mean for the New England Patriots. But will this have any effect on the Atlanta Falcons’ 2015 season?
It has no direct bearing, as the Falcons, nor their divisional opponents, are scheduled to face any team from the AFC East next season. In that sense, there is no advantage or disadvantage with Brady missing time.
However, if Atlanta is in contention for a playoff berth in 2015, which is a possibility, the suspension could indirectly affect the Falcons’ season.
Each team in the AFC East is scheduled to face each team in the NFC East in 2015, and that is where it gets interesting.
Sep 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) recovers his own fumble on fourth down against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Georgia Dome. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
There is a possibility the Falcons will be in the hunt for a wild-card berth in the NFC, and they would almost definitely face hot competition from at least one team from the East.
If Brady’s suspension remains at four games, which is uncertain due to the fact he will appeal the ruling, he would miss the Patriots’ Week 5 clash on the road to the Dallas Cowboys. If Brady is out of that game, the Cowboys will be heavy favorites.
In that sense, it would give the Cowboys a better shot at winning a game they could easily lose with Brady under center. This wouldn’t bode well for the Falcons if they were in a race with Dallas for a wild-card berth.
On the flip side, just three weeks after his scheduled return, Brady will be free to play the Washington Redskins in Week 9, followed up with a road trip to the Giants seven days later.
Playing Brady is a tough task on its own, but for a player who is coming off the back of winning a fourth Super Bowl ring, it wouldn’t be impossible to believe he wouldn’t be as hungry as he might have been the season prior.
Not anymore. Brady will be as determined as ever to prove a point and win a fifth world championship in the year of the ‘Deflate-gate’ suspension.
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I personally wouldn’t be surprised if Brady returns and leads his team to a victory in every regular season content, much like he did in 2007 after the ‘Spygate’ controversy.
Taking wins off the Giants and Eagles could be a massive boost for the Falcons if they are indeed in the hunt for a remaining wild-card berth with teams from the NFC East.
Roger Goodell has thrown a giant rock into a river by suspending Brady, and the ripples will have an effect on many teams in 2015. The Patriots’ opponents during the suspension as well as their divisional rivals have the most to gain, but further down the track, maybe the Falcons will benefit from the suspension also.