We’re officially at the halfway point of the Atlanta Falcons’ 2021 campaign under a new regime. To this point, the results have been mixed, most notably in the record being .500 to this point. In fact, for those wanting to go to extremes, if the season ended today, Atlanta’s heading to Lambeau for a playoff game.
And now, as pointed out on FS1’s morning debate show “Undisputed”, the Falcons are red-hot entering their Week 10 showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
The brakes are being hit extremely fast here, folks.
When that message came up on the show’s ticker at the top of the screen, the tagline read “Should Cowboys be on upset alert vs red-hot Falcons?”, at first, it seemed like a joke. The Cowboys are coming off a shocking loss to the Broncos at home, while our team is coming off a wild, lucky come-from-behind-after-being-ahead-for-the-whole-game win against the Saints.
So explain this: how exactly are these Atlanta Falcons “red-hot”, as the show (which is honestly fun to watch whenever Shannon Sharpe wants to act funny) would like their viewers to believe?
Here’s the full clip of the segment in question:
The only true sort of compliment both Skip and Shannon gave was that Matt Ryan can still sling the ball, which was validated by the NFC Offensive POW award (which most Falcons fans would probably give Cordarrelle Patterson instead). They did mention Kyle Pitts a little, but also tried to give praise to Olamide Zaccheaus and Russell Gage while surprisingly omitting Patterson in their discussion.
The one thing that both Skip and Shannon decided to not glance at (for obvious reasons) is the Falcons defense. Both panelists did admit they were just as shocked that the Broncos beat the Cowboys as the Falcons did the Saints. Shannon did ask Skip if he thought the Falcons defense was comparable to the Broncos’ defense, and Skip said the Cowboys’ defense was more of an astute comparison to Atlanta’s.
Of course, Skip did have to reference last year’s game between Atlanta and Dallas (from Jerry World, no less) where the Falcons had a double-digit lead with under five minutes remaining, and we all know what happened from there (no sense in making people watch that again).
Or, as Shannon stated live on air, “the Falcons will revert to who we thought they were”
For some extra content, let’s look at each team’s current defensive rankings:
- Atlanta Falcons: 13th in passing, 24th in rushing, 17th in total yards, 28th in points
- Dallas Cowboys: 25th in passing, 10th in rushing, 21st in total yards,18th in points
Heck, even Vegas doesn’t believe the Falcons are any good, as evidenced by the spread of this game opening at Dallas -10 and currently sitting at Dallas -8.5 on most sportsbooks. Shannon at least was shocked by the spread’s opening numbers.
This essentially means that, if the Falcons are playing their best football (which is hard to truly understand outside of the heart attacks) and the Cowboys are doing the same, then Dallas is at least nine points better than our team.
Now, the standard cliche here that some might use is “Any Given Sunday”. And truthfully, that is always a thing, especially in the NFL (JAX-BUF, anyone?). The argument can be made that Dallas overlooked the Broncos, and maybe they did after the Von Miller trade.
The same can go with the Saints, who just put the hammer on Tom Brady’s Buccaneers for another regular season contest. Besides, if anyone’s truly honest here, the Saints didn’t have a competent quarterback and were hindered by dropped passes.
Could the Atlanta Falcons upset the Cowboys this Sunday in Jerry World? It’s possible, but this team is not red hot at all. If anything, this team is lukewarm on a good day and colder than “Matty Ice’s” nickname when they’re not.
The safest bet here? Atlanta will cover the spread. Anything nearing a two-possession total is always a challenge, even if one team is much better than the other.