Atlanta Falcons: How Will the NFC South Shake Out?
Can the Atlanta Falcons win the NFC South yet again? Erik Sandelin gives his best prediction as we approach the 2017 NFL Season
After reviewing each team’s schedule in the Atlanta Falcons division, this is the prediction for the standings in the NFC South by the end of the 2017 NFL season:
"Atlanta Falcons 13 3 0Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 6 0Carolina Panthers 8 8 0New Orleans Saints 7 9 0"
I think the Falcons’ three losses will be to the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and to the Panthers on the road in Carolina.
Beating the defending Super Bowl Champions – who have only gotten better on paper over the offseason – in their own home at night in mid- to late-October is a tall order. Although I have no doubt the team will be amped up to exact some degree of revenge for Super Bowl 51. It’s still a hard task and not one that should be frowned upon should they take an L.
By the same token, defeating the Seahawks in Seattle seems virtually impossible of late, regardless of who you are, and playing them in mid- to late-November doesn’t help (especially when Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is allowed to tackle wide receiver Julio Jones before the ball gets to him).
I call the third loss to be at the hands of an NFC South foe in the Panthers, on the road in Carolina on November 5th — even though I believe the Falcons are the more talented team. The problem will be this game’s the final contest of a three-week-long road trip. The team’s fatigue will wind up being a factor.
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Losses to the Green Bay Packer and Dallas Cowboys are also possibilities to happen, but both games are at home. The contest against the Packers, in particular, should find Atlanta highly motivated. This will be the first ever regular season game in their new stadium as they cut the ribbons for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Week 2 .