The Atlanta Falcons are a resurgent team, and suddenly almost everyone likes their odds to go to the playoffs. It’s a weird shift for a team most of us thought would top out at 8-10 wins, especially because many in the national media weren’t even that kind.
To be fair to all of us, anticipating the defense would look so much faster and more capable such a short time into Dan Quinn’s tenure would have been difficult. It was equally difficult to anticipate that Alex Mack’s signing would lift the offense by such a significant margin, that Tevin Coleman would suddenly develop into a huge asset in the passing game, and so forth. I’m glad it happened, though, and I don’t mind it if I wind up looking a little foolish and pessimistic before all is said and done.
There are still tough games on this schedule, though, starting with this one. Seattle is coming off the bye week and is one of the most well-coached, capable teams in the NFL, with a relentless, balanced defense and an offense that can function at a high level with five elementary schoolers along the offensive line. Dan Quinn has plenty of insight into how this defense functions and should be able to generate a quality plan to attack the Seahawks along with Kyle Shanahan and Richard Smith, but the Falcons could very easily lose this game simply because their opponent is so talented. I don’t think they will, for what it’s worth.
I’ve got the Falcons by a score of 24-20. It’ll be a classic 2016 Falcons effort, where Atlanta jumps out to an early lead, slows down late, and makes things more interesting than they need to be, but I do think they can hold on if they can just avoid major mistakes. How about you?