This is my second article in my NFL preview and the second team in alphabetical order is the Atlanta Falcons, so here goes.
After a 13-3 season in 2010, the Atlanta Falcons were, at times, the best team in the National Football League last season and the Dirty Birds seem poised to do just as well in 2011, notwithstanding the lockout which may have wounded less-experienced teams.
However, experience and excellence are two things the Falcons have in abundance as signal-caller Matt Ryan looks to build upon a season wherein he tossed for 3,705 yards and 28 touchdowns against only nine interceptions while completing 62.5 percent of his passes.
Atlanta has a chance to be even more explosive in 2011 because in addition to Roddy "Shakespeare" White (you Falcons fans may remember my running gag about how he does nothing but make plays) who had a league-high 115 receptions along with 10 touchdowns in 2010, will be joined by rookie stud Julio Jones who could easily be the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Of course, there are other studs on this Falcons' offense, such as Michael Turner who ran for 1,371 yards and 12 touchdowns, (all of this in addition to encouraging parents to keep gym in school) and surefire Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez who had 70 receptions and six touchdowns last season.
My wildcard pick for the Falcons' defense is to see Brent "Don't do the" Grimes to become an All-Pro as he comes off a campaign where he amassed five interceptions.
Just so Falcons fans know, I am typing this as I wear my Broncos shorts along with a Falcons pullover so I am doing this in the proper spirit.
Yes, the Packers should be the favorites in the NFC and yes, the Eagles have done a great job in amassing talent but I still think the Falcons can be the team to beat if they can find a way to come off conqueror in the playoffs.
The pieces are in place for the Falcons and I can see an 11-5 or 12-4 record easily.
For some strange reason, teams that go 13-3 have never fared well in the postseason so I will give the Falcons 12 wins in hopes that they have better luck.
If nothing else, football is almost here and we shall see what happens!