The Falcons hadn't been favored in 2015 until they came into this week's game against the Cowboys, a road game that features a depleted Dallas team starting Brandon Weeden at quarterback. Atlanta is 2-0 under a new coach, having won their first two games narrowly, and are riding high on a wave of confidence and good vibes.
Excuse me while I get the obligatory reference out of the way.
Thanks for your patience. This is a classic trap game, that game that looks so winnable on paper for the favored team, but has a bunch of intangibles that could make it a disappointing pitfall instead. In this one, it's chiefly a solid Dallas getting the benefit of playing at home against a team that has squeaked out its victories thus far. It's not a stretch to imagine Atlanta stumbling a bit against a still-strong Cowboys defense, nor is it a stretch to think Dallas might gin up enough offense to win a close game, even if a shootout victory seems very far-fetched.
It's tempting to think this Falcons team won't come out flat, especially because Dan Quinn has shown us he will pour out a can of soda that fails to fizzle for him. But in reality all we're working with is a two game sample thus far, and the Falcons still have managed to disappear for stretches of these two games. I'm not suggesting that the Falcons are doomed, just that they need to keep the energy level high and play some disciplined football to walk out of Arlington with the win I think they can get.
If the Falcons manage to beat the brakes off of the Cowboys in this one, it will be all the proof we need that this is a very different Atlanta team than the one we're used to see. Given the close nature of the games the team has played so far, though, I'm not thinking it's going to be that easy.
Are you wary of this one?