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Falcons 2016 Schedule Prediction for the Pessimists

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How did I become the pessimist at the Falcoholic?

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I think I had Atlanta with 12 wins last season. And short of a historic collapse and an offense that gave flashbacks to the Mike Mularkey era, I think that would have ended up correct. We are still predraft, but the team has done a better job at creating more roster holes than fixing them, which is concerning with so few draft picks. It is tough to fix the depth problem with the league's most expensive center and paying a WR3 like a good WR2.

The roster isn't the only problem. With a competent offensive gameplan, the combo of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman means 10+ wins should be possible. If the team can limit all those crippling turnovers, and add some creativity to the offensive scheme, they should be a lock for the playoffs. But after last season's offensive collapse, I think it is a little too hopeful that Atlanta can maintain offensive consistency throughout the season.

With that being said, here is where I see the Falcons ending up.

Week 1: Tampa Bay

You better believe Mike Smith wants to prove the Falcons were wrong they got rid of him. But in true Smith fashion, his defense will only be able to hold on for about two quarters.

Result: Win

Week 2: at Oakland

The Oakland Raiders have put together a nice team with competent coaching, while the Falcons paid Mohamed Sanu $6.5 million per year and made Raheem Morris a wide receiver coach. Tough to overcome that after a long trip to the West Coast.

Result: Loss

Week 3: at NO

Based on Atlanta's lack of recent success in New Orleans, I have to count this as a loss. These are always tough games, and the Falcons usually lose tough games.

Result: Loss

Week 4: Carolina

The Carolina Newtons are a good team with some big questions about depth across the roster. The 15-1 team was nearly the same as the 7-8-1 team from the year before, and I expect them to come back down to reality.

Result: Win

Week 5: at Denver

The Denver Broncos will be a shell of the team were in recent years, but they are still stacked with far more talent than Atlanta. We can point and laugh at Mark Sanchez all we want, but the Falcons lost to Matt Hasselbeck and the crumbling Indianapolis Colts while coming off a bye.

Result: Loss

Week 6: at Seattle

Ha, could you even imagine if they won this game?

Result: Loss

Week 7: San Diego

The Chargers are a bad team traveling across the country, so the Falcons should probably win this one.

Result: Win

Week 8: Green Bay

The Falcons defense isn't anywhere near good enough to slow down Aaron Rodgers for four quarters.

Result: Loss

Week 9: at Tampa

Time for Mike Smith's revenge. If Jameis Winston can continue improving, Dirk Koetter's impressive offense should have enough firepower to win over Matt Ryan at home.

Result: Loss

Week 10: at Philly

The Eagles may have the worst roster in the league, and they are coached by the guy who made Alex Smith look decent. This could be Atlanta's best win of the season.

Result: Win

Week 12: Arizona

I'll consider this a win if Atlanta only loses by less than 20 points.

Result: Loss

Week 13: KC

We are at week 13 and I'm not sure what else to say. Atlanta's offseason plan was to ignore their biggest needs, fix problems they should have fixed the year before, and hope they can solve everything else with essentially four draft picks. Alex Smith will tear us apart.

Result: Loss

Week 14: at LA

The Rams have done a great job going BPA, so the only question is will the Falcons get the Rams during one of the 7 games they typically win? Even though they have Jeff Fisher, the team is full of dominant defensive players and Todd Gurley. I doubt the Falcons can deal with the jetlag and all of those players.

Result: Loss

Week 15: SF

Playing Chip Kelly's 49ers should be similar to playing a less-talented version of his Eagles the year before. The whole 49ers organization seems to get along as well as the average family during Christmas. Oh no, Trent Baalke is getting his fifth drink and we haven't even gotten to dinner!

Result: Win

Week 16: at Carolina

I think splitting with the Panthers is the best the Falcons can hope for.

Result: Loss

Week 17: NO

The last game ever in the Georgia Dome, and it is against the Saints? If the team needs to win one game the whole year, it is week 17. Drew Brees will probably have a dead arm by week 17, and their mediocre defense should be just about burned out.

Result: Win

There we have it. I have the team at a realistic 6-10 finish. If the draft works out perfectly, or the offensive coaching staff can adequately tailor the scheme to the roster (and not vice-versa), the team could sneak in with a few more wins. Until that happens, I have to believe this is the same team we have watched for the last three seasons.