The Atlanta Falcons have looked improved on defense this year, albeit with some hiccups along the way, but even that improvement has been divisive. Many chalk it up to the team’s inability to stop the run, which leads to long, painstaking drives, while others point out that the team’s lack of turnovers have meant it isn’t really improved.
At the end of the day, though, the Falcons are on track to allow fewer points and fewer yards, and they’ve been particularly effective against the pass thus far. To wit, the following statistic.
Interesting Falcons stat ... Atlanta's only given up >260 passing yards in a game once this year (Rodgers)...happened 7 times through first 9 games last year. cc @jeannathomas @FalcoholicDW @CarasikS— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) November 16, 2017
The team’s secondary has been stellar, but the Falcons have also had an intermittently lethal pass rush that has made life much easier. But there’s still the sense that opposing offenses have just had the ball an awful lot and have eaten clock with short yardage plays. While that’s not necessarily false, there’s more context here.
Opponents averaging 63 plays per game this year; averaged 66 plays per game last year (whole season), so hard to credit whole improvement to possessions— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) November 16, 2017
I’m a big believer in the talent here, and thus very willing to buy into any narrative revolving around improvement. It’s also true that the Falcons are coming off a dominant effort against the Cowboys and a solid one against the Panthers, and are really only being limited by an inconsistent run defense. If they can get some improvement on that side of things and keep up the pace for the pass defense, this team is going to win quite a few games over the next seven weeks.