What if I told you the Falcons weren't an awful road team? Would that blow your mind a little?
The link below, provided with an appreciative hat tip to reader WingTip, will download an Excel chart showing every NFL team's road wins since 2008. The Falcons at 24-25, surprisingly, are sitting at a tie for #9 in the NFL, with the San Diego Chargers.
This challenges some basic assumptions about the team, which is that they are a mediocre-at-best road team, if not a downright awful one. What drives those assumptions is the very real disparity between the team's home and road performances, outlined capably by Aaron Freeman at FalcFans earlier this week, and the fact that the team's road record of 24-25 looks grim compared to their home record of 38-12. All of this is fact, and if your argument is that the Falcons need to better on the road, I'm not really going to argue it.
What these numbers show us is that very few NFL teams are actually any good on the road, and they also introduce some important nuance to a discussion that inevitably boil down to large portion of the fanbase believing that we should be incredibly concerned with roads games, regardless of the opponent. The Falcons can be better, for certain, but it's not so grim as all that.
I do think this speaks to how good the Falcons are at home and how stark the difference is on the road, which has led us to believe the Falcons are a terrible road team. In reality, they're a perfectly capable road team under Mike Smith, and one of the three-to-five best in the NFL when they're in the Georgia Dome. They went 1-7 a year ago, but that was the worst Falcons team in about a decade and they weren't doing well at home, either, so unless we see that the Bengals game is not an aberration caused by playing an excellent football team, I'm not going to worry overmuch.
The Falcons can bear this out by playing well on the road this season, and this Vikings game is an excellent opportunity to start. doing just that What do you think of the team's road and home fortunes?