Aug 28, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) reacts as he is sacked by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) in the first quarter of their game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Take advantage of the ‘easy’ schedule
The Falcons supposedly have the ‘easiest’ run in 2015 due to their favorable strength of schedule. As I wrote last week, we shouldn’t read too much into this, as it only takes into account team’s performances in 2014, before any offseason moves have been made.
Dec 18, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) drops back against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
According to the strength of schedule, teams playing Atlanta will be taking on a 6-10 football team. In reality, the Falcons could be considerably stronger.
It works the other way. Yes, only four of the Falcons’ 16 games come against 2014 playoff teams, but many more of them will be in contention this time round.
What the strength of schedule does, however, is provide a basic guide as to how strong the Falcons’ opponents are. We know that even with the improvements made, Jacksonville and Tennessee are unlikely to be in a playoff hunt.
And while a team like Minnesota is poised to improve, San Francisco could get worse.
A major positive for the Falcons isn’t so much with the teams they are scheduled to face, but rather the ones not on the list. Seattle, Green Bay, New England, Denver — the Falcons’ don’t play either of them.
They also won’t face the strong Cardinals, the rejuvenated Dolphins or any team from a tough AFC North.
No game in the NFL is easy, and I don’t believe there is such thing as an ‘easy schedule’ in a league with such parity. Despite that, the Falcons miss the big boys, and that’s a good thing.
They just need to take advantage of a more favorable schedule.
Next: Shut up shop