The Atlanta Falcons haven’t been as good offensively as any of us have hoped, and a lot of that falls on Steve Sarkisian’s play calling and the team’s execution. In the interest of adding as much context as possible to the first seven weeks of the season, though, we should note that they’ve always played four of the top-ranked defenses in the NFL.
According to PFF, the Falcons have faced the third (Chicago), fourth (Buffalo), fifth (Miami) and tenth (Detroit) best defenses in the NFL.— Rise Up Reader (@RiseUpReader) October 19, 2017
Against those defenses, the Falcons put up 23 (Bears), 30 (Lions), and 17 points (Bills and Dolphins), with the two stinkers coming in the last two games they’ve played. The Falcons have repeatedly and annoyingly cost themselves points during their 3-2 start, but at least they haven’t been struggling mightily against bad defenses.
The good news is that things get a little easier going forward. The Patriots are ranked 17th by Pro Football Focus, the Jets are 32nd (!!), the Panthers are 16th, and the Cowboys are 25th. I’d argue that ranking is extremely kind to the Patriots, who have largely struggled to contain the kind of big plays the Falcons are at least capable of all year. If the offense is going to get back on track, chances are it’ll be playing a defense a lot closer in form to the Packers, a team the Falcons beat up on.
The bad news is that the Falcons still have two top ten defenses to contend with the rest of the way, with the Minnesota Vikings (#1) and the Seattle Seahawks (#7) still on the docket. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, though.
And the Falcons’ defense? It’s ranked 13th overall thus far, which seems pretty fair but comes with the caveat that they haven’t faced a lot of quality offenses.