ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 18: Members of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
It's absurdly early to be talking about this, but it's a long off-season. We'll get to re-visit this topic more than once.
The topic, as you might have noted from the title, is what we can reasonably expect from the Atlanta Falcons in 2012. Going into last season, I caught heat for predicting an 11-5 finish from those who thought I went too low (14-2! 13-3!) and those who thought I went too high (8-8! 9-7!) It turned out I went a bit too high, but I think I was close.
Except for the fact that the Falcons didn't really look great getting to 10-6, of course.
For this season, let's calibrate our expectations. The Falcons have two new coordinators, will likely revamp the offensive line and won't be returning about 10-15% of its 2011 squad. There's bound to be growing pains, but I'm not ready to get hysterical about it yet.
So my prediction is 10-6. I think the Falcons will take a small step back thanks to changes in scheme and personnel, but ultimately I think they'll be a better football team overall. Whether that's good enough to get them into the playoffs or not, I don't claim to know.
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