There are a thousand variables working against contenders every year in the NFL. You lose players, you add new players that may or may not approximate the value of your old ones and you deal with injuries. Unfortunately for the Falcons, one variable in particular stands out: The quality of your competition.
The NFC West may eat itself alive a little bit, but there's no denying that the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are two of the best teams in football. The Falcons were always going to need to go through them in 2013 to some extent on the road to a championship. They're more than capable of doing so, but if you don't think it's tough, you're crazy.
The Seahawks just may have made it even tougher, dealing for Percy Harvin in a blockbuster move. Harvin is a prima donna with a legitimate migraine condition, two factors that do actively work against him. He's also one of the most productive receivers in the NFL, a positionally versatile player and someone who can and should inspire fear in opposing defenses. Adding him takes the Seahawks defense from above average to potentially terrific.
This isn't necessarily a game-changer, it just makes an already good team even better. The Falcons knew they'd need one hell of an off-season to keep up with the Joneses, something we're all hoping will be happening soon. But this is just one more challenge in another grueling upcoming season for our Falcons.
Not that worried, though. Are you?