In this series of posts, I seek to find the answer to questions that are brought up around here or around the various sports conversation sites. I use a realistic, low-stat opinion to generate discussion about these topics, but I also encourage the use of stats in an argument.
Aside from our second half rushing defense on Sunday, I really don't have much to complain about as far as the Falcons go. Now that it has been pretty much universally accepted that we are the second best team in the NFL behind the Patriots, I started wondering just how much better the Patriots are than us.
Lately, the Patriots have been absolutely destroying teams, most notably the Bears this past Sunday and the Jets the week before. Some would argue that their offense is playing even better than the year Brady had 50 touchdown passes (2007) and they're playing without megabucks star Randy Moss. Their defense is very young and they have been playing at a VERY high level lately.
So, fellow Falcoholics, this begs the question: Are the Patriots in a class above everyone else?
Follow me after the jump and let's talk about it!
To be honest, the Patriots are the only team that legitimately scare me, but for the life of me, I don't understand how they've been able to win so much.
They are notorious for a lack of a run game, though Danny Woodhead has provided some spark for them as of late. One would think that the lack of a run game would make a team one-dimensional, but the Patriots have always avoided that downfall in the Brady era.
How do they do it? Simple, by doing something we (Falcons) don't do. Some people (like myself) consider it an extended hand off, but essentially the RB just swings out of the backfield, catches a pass in the flat, and turns upfield, usually for a gain that is larger than it should be. Kevin Faulk is one of the best at making those plays, and he's been fantastic for the Pats when called upon.
Aside from 2007, Brady has never looked as if he felt the need to go deep. He throws a great deep ball, but his usage of his RBs and Wes Welker in the passing game have very nearly alleviated the need for a between-the-tackles RB.
"But wait a minute!" you say. "This is a Falcons blog! Why are you building up the Patriots so much?"
Well, there's only one instance in which we would face the Patriots this year, and that would be in Dallas.
And, for what it's worth, I think we can beat them.
I'm not worried about a Patriot fan/player coming on here and posting this to their bulletin board. I guarantee that if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl playing in a similar fashion to how they are now, we would receive very little hope from the media, which would in turn fire us up even more.
I fully expect the Pats to make it to the Super Bowl barring a Brady injury or a total meltdown. In the AFC, it's just the Patriots and everyone else. Our path is a little more difficult, but I think we can make it, too. Wouldn't you know, it will likely be the Saints that stand between us and the Super Bowl, but I think we can win.
I think we match up well with the Pats. Our offense is incredibly balanced and probably has some of the best balance in the entire league. They have lost some big bodies up front on D, and their young talent hasn't encountered a team quite like us. We can run, we can pass, and we will find which of the two will beat you and use it to death.
I think our D is underrated. Our #1 corner rarely gets thrown at, which causes teams to throw at our #2, who is Stretch Armstrong fused with Superman. I think our LB corps is one of the best in the league, but I'm no stat guy so I couldn't prove that if you paid me. Our DL is young for the most part (sans Grandpa Abe) and they generate good pressure. If I recall correctly, Brady isn't too mobile, so even if he does manage to escape, the forced mobility may cause him to screw up his throws.
Or we could just do what the '07 Giants did and send 4 DEs out there. That worked pretty well for them.
Also, we'd be playing in a dome, which completely nullifies the Patriots weather advantage. That helps us immensely. Also, Atlanta is much closer than Massachusetts as far as Dallas is concerned, so we should be well represented.
Yes, I realize a lot of this is speculation and is based on if we were to ever play them in a legitimate playoff setting, but I really have no complaints about the team this week, so this is what we have to work with.
As fans, we have the luxury to take a step back and look beyond the week at hand and do things like this. These are fun little scenarios to think about.
What do you all think? Let's make this a multi-pronged attack here. I'd like to hear your thoughts on whether you think the Pats are legit or if they've just exposed some severely overrated teams the past couple of weeks. Also, if the Pats and Falcons played in the Super Bowl tomorrow, would we be able to beat them? Do you think we match up well with them? Have a little fun and let's dream up some scenarios on this Thursday morning.
I'll be getting off of work early so I'll have plenty of time to discuss this with you all, and I'm looking forward to it!