51 going on 52: The Atlanta Falcons Redemption Tour Rolls On
The Atlanta Falcons remain, like Alfred P. Doolittle – that is, “With a Little Bit of Luck” – undefeated in the 2017 season.
The Atlanta Falcons remain, like Alfred P. Doolittle – that is, “With a Little Bit of Luck” – undefeated in the 2017 season. The Dirty Birds were, like Nikki Sixx, technically dead for a few minutes, slain at the hands of Matt Ryan’s good friend and namesake Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions, until a review of Golden Tate’s would-be go-ahead touchdown led officials to reverse the decision and all but award the win to the Falcons, who have become just the sixth Super Bowl loser to start the following season 3-0 in the last 35 years (the last of which were the 2006 Seattle Seahawks team that finished 9-7 and lost in the second round of the playoffs), and could become the fourth to start 4-0 in that same span.
The three teams that hit that mark include two iterations of the Buffalo Bills (1991 and 1992), the 2017 version of which the Falcons will face, as favorites, on Sunday. The third team was the 1998 Green Bay Packers. None of those teams went on to win the following Super Bowl (the early to mid-90s Bills actually made four straight, as well as unsuccessful, trips to the Super Bowl), a trend which Atlanta would obviously like to buck, much more than they would prefer to have a perfect record.
The 2017 Falcons are, in fact, far from perfect; Matty Ice has, in a single game, thrown three picks, which is almost half the interceptions he threw last season, and receiver Julio Jones has yet to score a touchdown.
On the other hand, running back Devonta Freeman has four scores, the offense is in the Top five in scoring with an average of 29 points per game, and the defense, while allowing about five yards per rush and almost 22 first downs per game, is tied for fifth best in the NFL in goal-to-go situations. And they are also atop or near the top of most Power Rankings. In the end, a team doesn’t have to be perfect to win the Super Bowl, just be better than the rest. Perfection is unattainable, but constantly striving for it is what distinguishes great teams from the merely good.
Next: Atlanta Falcons Soar in Power Rankings
So far, Atlanta has dispatched three NFC North foes, two of which made the playoffs last season. Next for the Falcons is a four-game stretch involving AFC East teams; namely, the aforementioned Bills, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets. The Dolphins and, of course, the Pats also reached the postseason last year. Ryan is, according to ESPN Stats & Info, 4-5 against AFC East opponents in both the regular season and the playoffs, throwing for 15 touchdowns and two picks. The Patriots game is, by the way, what the New York Post calls the Falcons’ “moment of truth.” “For us, we feel like we’re just getting rolling,” head coach Dan Quinn said per that same news outlet. “It’s just three games into it, and there is a lot of work to be done.”