Long-time reader & first-time poster here, so I'd like to start with a "thank you" for all the tremendous writing, work, and fun that goes on here; y'all are phenomenal.
Anyway, here goes ...
I have a pretty healthy respect for logic and rationality. There's nothing more annoying than a fan who completely distorts reality to their team's benefit any time sports comes up in conversation, so I don't want to go off the rails here. On the other hand, some daydreaming and blue-skying can be enjoyable from time to time. To that end, a question:
Could the Falcons run the table and finish 13-3 again?
I know, I know. On the face of things, that's a ridiculous thought. We just lost Ovie for the year, Sam Baker's out for awhile (actually, that might help ...) and Matty and Julio may not be 100%, but bear with me here ....
Week 9 @ Colts: Unless we fall into a severely into the potential trap game here, this should be a W. I find Freeney and Mathis sufficiently terrifying, but that's still Curtis Painter under center for the opposition. Anyway, barring outright disaster, we ought to walk out with the victory.
Week 10 vs Saints: Anyone else a little less scared of N'Awlins after the lowly Rams crashed their party last week? Also, the Saint's won't have had their bye week yet, and they face the Bucs the preceding week. Two tough divisional games in a row, not having had a week off yet ... they're going to be awfully tired, right?
Week 11 vs Titans: Other than that week 2 win over Baltimore, Tenn.'s other wins are Colts, Browns, & Broncos. That's barely an NFL schedule. Chris Johnson is lousy, Kenny Britt is out for the year ... I don't see that we have anything to worry about here, as long as we take care of business.
Week 12 vs Vikings: Christian Ponder might have the makings of a decent NFL QB, but we're not going to see him realize that potential this season. All Day is, of course, a nightmare for any defense, but we're 5th in the league in total rushing yards allowed (689), which gives us better-than-most chances at slowing him down.
Week 13 @ Texans: Like the Titans, their record belies how not-good they actually are. Wins: Indy, Miami, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville. Losses: Saints, Raiders, Ravens. Aside from that fluky Steelers win, they can't beat anyone of substance. Also, Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Road Games Against Teams With Good Records, I shalt not fear the Matt Schaub.
Week 14 @ Panthers: Does the thought of Cam Newton, Steve Smith, and Greg Olson running amok against our lousy pass D leave me mildly nauseous? Of course it does, but guess what? Per Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings, the Panthers are 31st in total defense, better than only the 0-8 Colts on that side of the ball. We should crush these guys, regardless of how phenomenal Cam may be.
Week 15 vs Jaguars: Sure, this could be another trap game. I've seen enough of the Jags this year to know they're (quasi-)capable of banging out an ugly win against a superior opponent if that team takes the situation lightly or isn't focused enough. (See: Ravens. Also see: Steelers game they very nearly won.) Their defense is certainly no joke. Still, they're 11th in the league in pass D, so this might be a good time to give Burner a lighter workload and let Julio and Roddy of the chain more than usual.
Week 16 @ Saints: Hoo boy, here's the most daunting date left on the schedule. As we know, The Superdome is loud, hostile, and dangerous, as are its home-team occupants. This is the wing-and-a-prayer moment on which my "winning-out" theory/daydream hinges. Reasons for optimism: hopefully by this time A. Mike Cox will be settled into the offense enough to contribute, B. We won't have sustained any further injuries, and C. The Saint's offensive line will still be relatively awful and Abraham and Edwards can tee off on Brees all day long. It could happen ... right?
Week 17 vs Bucs: We came too close to coughing up that game in Tampa Bay earlier in the season. Ultimately, though, the Birds are a better and more complete team. The division/wild card could still be on the line here, so a good'n'rowdy home crowd may prove helpful. If it comes down the clutch, in Matty we trust.
Anyway, I apologize for an unreasonably long first post, but I was looking over the schedule today and my imagination just kind of went haywire. Looking forward to being an active part of this great community. Go Birds!!!