There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, that and snakes, I freaking hate snakes. We're all familiar with this franchise's turnaround over the past five years. Ideally that success continues going forward. More of the same, with an added Lombardi for good measure, would work for me.
The Falcons' likely opposing quarterbacks have a combined record of 14-18 when facing Mike Smith-led teams. That assumes we only face Drew Brees (7-3), Sam Bradford (0-1), Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady (1-0), Mark Sanchez (0-1), Josh Freeman (2-6), Carson Palmer (0-2), Cam Newton (1-3), Russell Wilson (0-1), Kevin Kolb (0-1, RGIII (0-1), Aaron Rodgers (2-2), and Colin Kaepernick (1-0).
The Falcons have never faced Tannehill, but I'm fairly certain they can take the Dolphins. Granted, Tannehill showed some moxy in 2012. But from an efficiency standpoint, he wasn't very good (10 percent less efficient than league average or 25th out of 39 ranked players with at least 100 passes). It's entirely possible we won't see Sanchez, if in fact Geno Smith isn't a talentless, out-of-shape diva.
The one quarterback we're all worried about is Drew Brees. He's absolutely torched the Falcons during the Smith era. In just five years, he's compiled almost 3,200 passing yards against the Falcons. He's also averaged 2.2 passing touchdowns a game against the Falcons. Not too shabby. I'm not sure the Brees equation can be solved, you just have to hope their defense falls on its face and/or you're too drunk to care if the Aints prevail.
The scheme we're all worried about is the read-option. Wilson, Kaepernick, RGIII, and Newton will require a lack of freaking out by the Falcons' defenders. In other words, Mike Nolan's defense will need to be disciplined and execute exceptionally well to handle them. Freeman and Rodgers also bring a fair amount of mobility to the table. All in all, defensive depth is an absolute must going into 2013. If the defense doesn't stay fresh, they're done.
Bottom line? Maybe there isn't one. Mind. Blown. For serious though, I'm fairly confident in our ability to neutralize most of these quarterbacks. There will be hiccups, and that's be expected, because we face some talented football players in 2013. Still, I'm not seeing anything this team can't handle.