True or False: Are the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl-Bound?
Atlanta Falcons have won three in a row, but they also started the season 3-0 only to go 1-4 in the next five games, including two losses as the home favorite.
Yahoo Sports’ Jordan Schultz is very high on the Atlanta Falcons. Or maybe he’s just high. Either way, the Falcons are indeed riding high on a three-game winning streak, which has many fair-weather fans, as well as so-called experts, jumping back on the Atlanta bandwagon and making their damndest to pretend they never jumped off. Some felt that the team had, if we may be allowed a pun, jumped the Sark, and consequently jumped ship themselves and started rooting for more successful teams. The Falcons newfound success means many lost sheep have returned to the fold, but does it mean Atlanta will return to the Super Bowl? Whether it does or doesn’t can only be determined a posteriori, but it might mean that and it mightn’t, depending on how you look at it.
The negative outlook
Sure, the Falcons have won three in a row, but they also started the season 3-0 only to 1-4 in the next five games, including two losses as the home favorite to the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins, who as we know aren’t la crème de la crème. And even the teams Atlanta did beat, for that matter, weren’t the cream of the crop, if we exclude a Green Bay Packers who still had Aaron Rodgers at the time. The Falcons defeated minor competition like the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions (the latter whom they could have and probably should have lost to) but lost to the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, who may have somewhat been struggling at the time but were trending upward.
Something similar can be said of the Falcons current streak. They have bested the Dallas Cowboys (whose quarterback is way in over his head without running back Ezekiel Elliott), the stripped-down Seattle Seahawks, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who played with a backup quarterback. Next up are the Minnesota Vikings, who have won seven straight also with a backup quarterback, and the New Orleans Saints, who won eight in a row before losing to the Los Angeles Rams, in which there is of course no shame. Then the Falcons get the Bucs again, the Saints again, and the Panthers, to whom they have already lost this season.
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The positive outlook
True, Atlanta got off to a deceiving 3-0 start, but the Falcons are playing much better now than they did in that initial streak, averaging 29.3 points per game, while Matt Ryan “has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception, while posting a 110.5 passer rating and a Total QBR of 88.8, which trails only the surging Case Keenum,” as Schultz noted, adding that “the Falcons are third in yards gained per possession (36.7), as well as fifth in both points per possession (2.24) and three-and-out percentage (29.5 percent).” The first three wins of the season almost looked like a fluke. This looks like Steve Sarkisian is finally getting the hang of the offense.
Next: Julio Jones Picks Himself Up and Dusts Himself Off
And finally, there is the fact that the 2017 season sort of patterns that of 2016; a strong start, followed by a rough patch near the middle, and closing with another strong effort, the start of which we are presumably seeing. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. Regardless of whether that’s true, the Falcons need to keep striking while the iron’s hot.