2nd Quarter of the Season
Week 5. Atlanta Falcons at the Pittsburgh Steelers
In Week 5, the Falcons will likely take their first loss of the season as the team travels to Pittsburgh to play the AFC North’s best team. This Steelers squad is a veteran team that knows it has a chance to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, as the Patriots are looking mortal for the first time in two decades. While the Falcons have an elite roster, it’s unrealistic to expect this squad to go 16-0. Every team has off weeks, and I see the Falcons having one here.
Week 6. Atlanta Falcons vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons should get their mojo back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although the Buccaneers have been a popular choice the last several seasons as a team that should switch from being a bottom dweller to a contender, this season just does not seem like the year they do just that. On offense, the team is led by the up-and-down quarterback Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. The team also has rookie TE O.J. Howard from Alabama. However, despite all that talent, the Buccaneers defense is still sub-par and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will torch this team. I’m predicting 400 yards from Ryan this week.
Week 7. Atlanta Falcons vs. the New York Giants
The New York Giants have a potential to surprise people. They play a fairly easy schedule after finishing with the worst record in the NFC last year. That said, the additions of Nate Solider, Pat Shurmur, and Saquon Barkley are simply not enough to be able to overcome the Falcons. Expect to see Eli Manning spending all game in third and long as the Falcons pass rush will abuse Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers. If the Falcons can score quickly and often, this will force the Giants to opt for passing plays which will get the ball into star wide receiver Odell Beckham’s hands but it will take the ball away from Barkley.
Week 8. Bye Week
Week 9. Atlanta Falcons at the Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are a hard team to predict. Notably, the team lost quarterback Kirk Cousins and acquired Alex Smith. The two are similar in skill sets with Smith being the more limited passer. If the Redskins offensive line can manage for four quarters Washington’s running game might shock the Falcons.
In the second quarter of the season, the Falcons are projected to go 2-2.