I have been thinking a lot about what lies ahead for our team. A lot is on the line this season. Tony and SJax want that Super Bowl. The team got the playoff monkey off its back, but just barely. While I do not fully agree with the whole playoff monkey business I do think it was big for the teams mental state come that time of year. Also our new beloved offensive and defensive coordinators get their second year and are finally going to be able to put their schemes into play with players that they had some say so in. There are also big question marks to go along with those lofty expectations this year. How well is the offensive line going to play without "Mud Duck" and Clabo"? Will Trufant and Alford be able to step in and play at a new level right away? Will the pass rush improve or are we in for another year watching a QB sit in the pocket for far to long while putting our vocal chords through a rigorous stress test? What will Koetter do with all of these new weapons on offense? Can Nolan start to use some younger players more often? I need to stop my head is starting to spin. Well time will tell but in the mean time I can look forward, channel my best Edgar Cayce, to bring what I think will be a decent stab at next season win loss predictions. I will not go into the post season to deep though. Sorry I am not that bold as of yet.
Week 1- New Orleans Saints: Getting Peyton back should help the team but changing the defensive scheme should take at least a game or two to completely set in. There is hope with Kenny Vaccaro but one player does not make a defense instantly better. New Orleans will not like this home opener. This is a WIN. Record 1-0
Week 2- St. Louis Rams: St. Louis is a team that showed last season that it could beat some pretty good teams, and beat both San Francisco and Seattle. St. Louis picked up Tavon Austin who should be able to fill in for the loss of Amendola but it shouldn't be enough to match up with our offense. Not to mention I see SJax being gracious but brutal on this particular day. I'm giving this a big WIN. Record 2-0
Week 3- Miami Dolphins: Miami made some big moves this year. To me it says they think they have the franchise quarterback in place and just needed to supply the right weapons around him. I also see Tannehill starting to live up to some of the expectations thrown on him when he was brought in. I say this is the first game where we will see a close game. I think Ryan will try to show the young gun how its done though. Mark down another WIN. Record 3-0
Week 4- New England Patriots: In my dreams I see this as being a chance for Matt Ryan to shine. Similar to last years game against Denver when he beat Manning. What it is in reality is a chance for Dimitroff to show up his mentor in a big way. This might be the best offense Dimitroff has ever put together and having Koetter and Nolan back for another year should help his case. My gut says we have what it takes but my head says Belichick and Brady always find a way. Being a home game for Atlanta if we lose it won't be by much. I am going with my head on this one and saying it will be our first LOSS. Record 3-1
Week 5- New York Jets:The poor, poor Jets. Atlanta coming off of a loss is not something any team in the NFL wants to face. To say they have a stellar record coming off of a loss is an understatement. The Jets made only one good move this off season and got rid of Tebow. I have nothing against him but the circus he brought to town was nothing but detrimental to the team. If our defense is going to be any good this next year then this is the game that they will have the chance to get some confidence, if they haven't already. We go into the bye on a good note. Tally down another WIN. Record 4-1
Week 6- Bye Week,and I consider bye weeks a win, but to play fair I cannot mark it down as one.
Week 7- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Well Tampa Bay is still sticking with Freeman. If you ask me he is not the answer but picking up Glennon might pay off down the road. Atlanta has the receiving game few others do. Revis is only one man and Banks is still a rookie. Julio and Roddy actually match up very well against these guys. Not to mention we have the GOAT and not one but two running backs that can catch now. Should be too much for these Buccaneers to hold down. Plus our record after the bye week is another stellar record that shouldn't be tainted on this day. We get the WIN. Record 5-1
Week 8- Arizona Cardinals: Arizona did itself a service in two ways. Got themselves an upgrade at coach and quarterback. Usually that is a recipe for success. Well this is no exception to that rule. The one thing that will make this work will be the defense. Not to mention they picked up two players I would liked to have seen in Atlanta, Alex Okafor and Stepfan Taylor. Adding Stepfan to the running back by committee that they already have should be all they needed to make the running game at least a factor this year. For some reason the Cardinals just have our number and Carson Palmer might not be Matt Ryan but he is good enough to move the ball, just look at last years game against the Raiders. Sorry but I am going to call this one another close LOSS. Record 5-2
Week 9- Carolina Panthers: Carolina is the only other team within our division that I can see getting better in their offseason. No they don't have a receiver besides the one aging guy they always have had, and no their running backs didn't have a major upgrade, but something tells me they are not taking steps backward. Cam Newton seems to be a bit of a toolbox, but he is a quarterback who runs like a running back and is built like a linebacker. If he can just start to read a defense a little better. The big thing to me is their defense just gets better and better. Last year their defensive line gave Ryan a bad day. With two new defensive tackles that should be at least as good as the ones they had last year they should be one nasty front seven. Still not enough to bring the juggernaut of Atlanta's offense down, but they should be able to give it a good try. To me this one is real close and what breaks the camels back here is that Atlanta never losses two in a row. We get the WIN. Record 6-2
Week 10- Seattle Seahawks: This game should be big for Seattle and we will more than likely hear about it via one or both of the Legion of Boom voicing their opinions. My personnel opinion is Wilson may have been the best rookie quarterback last year but he is most susceptible to the dreaded sophomore slump. Seattle added some good pieces but if Wilson isn't playing on top of his game the whole team is going to be hurting. We get a WIN. Record 7-2
Week 11- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This game is at Tampa and should be a little closer. Banks will have the majority of a season under his belt and if Revis has made it this long his knee should be fine. Just can't put my money on this team with Freeman at quarterback. He is far to inconsistent and the only reason they beat us in round two last year was because half of our starters didn't mentally get off the bus. We get another WIN. Record 8-2
Week 12- New Orleans Saints: New Orleans has had quite a few games at this point and I truthfully think Vaccaro is going to be good so he might be the rallying point this defense needed a lot last year. Switching to a 3-4 from a 4-3 is not easy in this league and after just one season it should still have plenty of kinks. Big prediction right here, this year Brees will show signs of decline. Not in the first game we played but by this time in the year I will say that he will not be the same quarterback that we are used to seeing. Brees will not be terrible but just not on par with what we are used to seeing. We sweep the Saints and get the WIN. Record 9-2
Week 13- Buffalo Bills- This game is being held in Toronto, in December. Not a fun place for a team from the south to play. Lucky for us its just the Buffalo Bills. This team has E.J Manuel and Kevin Kolb as possible quarterbacks. Their receiving corps is looking half decent but their defense is still not what it should be for a team whose offense is not that great. Thankfully my biggest concern is this being a trap game. If we are hot and walk into this game thinking we got it in the bag we very well might lose, but I just can't see it happening. We get another WIN. Record 10-2
Week 14- Green Bay Packers: About this time of year is why we are considered to have a tough schedule. The Packers might actually have a run game this year with the addition of Eddie Lacy and they even got a pretty good number two running back in Johnathan Franklin. On top of that Rodgers might actually be able to stay on two feet this year with the younger and more than likely better offensive line. I hate to say it but the Pack might be back. I am giving us a LOSS. Record 10-3
Week 15- Washington Redskins: Washington will be no slacker next year. They picked up a couple good safeties and a couple not so good running backs. Picking up Amerson with their first pick in the second round wasn't exactly a popular pick but their secondary needed somebody new. Washington has become a fun team to meet during the season to me. With RG3 they are just good enough to make it interesting. The other reason I like it when we play them is because I don't think they can beat us. Especially if we are coming off of a loss. We WIN. Record 11-3
Week 16- San Francisco 49ers: Man do I want us to beat the crap out of these guys.Its a Monday night game and the rematch of last years NFC Championship game. This is my honest take on it though. I think Kaep is going to go through a bit of a slump as not a sophomore, but second year starter. I say we can make him look pretty bad and Ryan out guns him easily. The only problem is this, San Francisco is one of the rare teams that has so much talent that without the quarterback playing well they can still win games. I am not going to name all of their draft picks and free agent pick ups but just look it up. It is kinda intimidating. I mean they upgraded their receiving corps. They added yet more depth to the pass rush. Then to ice the cake they took the TE that I wanted Atlanta to get with Vance McDonald. It would make me a very happy man if I was wrong but I gotta say this is a LOSS. Record 11-4
Week 17- Carolina Panthers: Yeah these guys again. This time its in Atlanta but they caught us on the last regular season game of the year, and there is nothing they would want more than to play spoiler and send us into the post season on a loss. To bad their coaching staff might be looking at the post season themselves and not wanting to put their starters in the game either. In short our depth is better than theirs. We WIN. Final Regular Season Record 12-4
So that's what I have. The Atlanta Falcons ending with a regular season record of 12-4. More importantly we become the first team to repeat as NFC South back to back champs. To take a vague look into the possible post season I see Carolina possibly joining us in the second season and that might be a problem. How much of a problem I don't have the faintest because this team has never been to the post season with Newton and his coach. Other than that Green Bay should be there too and hopefully we get a second chance against them... again. Hope you enjoyed it, and I'll be laughing with you in game two when all of this is already proving to be way off.