The Falcons have already managed to put two lousy, mistake-marred seasons in the rear view with a pair of close triumphs to start the 2015 season. As we look ahead to the next 14 games, we all have to wonder whether the Falcons can sustain what they've managed to build thus far.
The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is a resounding yes. The Falcons could stumble and falter a bit from here and it wouldn't shake my faith that this team is building toward a brighter future, because they've already proven to have a better eye for defensive talent, better scheming, and better effort. There are legitimate concerns ranging from the offensive line to the ongoing health and effectiveness of the defense, but given that most of us anticipated a bit of a rebuilding year from Atlanta, even those aren't overly worrisome. The Falcons, after all, have built themselves a bit of an early cushion.
To be contending and beating teams in the competitive NFC East now is pretty remarkable, and even allowing for the Eagles' dysfunction and the Giants' mixed play thus far, those were far from gimme wins. They pulled those wins off, as I noted in yesterday's lessons learned article, despite playing very uneven games that featured long stretches of ineptitude. You don't have to squint very hard to see this Falcons team finding a little more consistency and making these games a little less competitive, especially against inferior opponents like, oh, most of the NFC South.
Pair all that with one of the league's easier schedules, one that features very few clear-cut terrific teams, and even a pessimist has to admit these Falcons have a great shot at a winning record, if not more. Assuming their health holds, of course.
The Falcons, then, are legitimate enough. They look good enough team to hang with anyone in the league, and considering we're in the first year of a new epoch, that's more than enough for me to believe they'll be in the hunt this year. If they can string together a few more quality performances, especially against the rest of the NFC South, we can start dreaming about something beyond a brush with the playoffs. That will come later, when we have much more to go on, but for right now this Falcons team doesn't seem to be built on smoke and mirrors. That's a nice change.
What's your expectation for the season after two games?