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Atlanta’s biggest foe in 2018 will be the calendar

Looking ahead could sink all of us when it counts.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are going to be a good football team in 2018, perhaps a very good football team, heck, maybe even a super great football team, maybe even the best great football team in the entire National Football League.

A lot gets hot potatoed around for what could be this team’s Achilles heel going forward, because we’re all cynical jackholes at heart, and that’s how we operate. Will it be Sark? Could it be being left behind by other teams in the NFC bulking up? Could it be injuries? Will the defense not come along quite as far as hoped? Will Julio be rusty (no)?

These are all worth discussion (if not that much), but, y’know, it’ll be the calendar. If they’re really good this year like I think they very much will be, it’ll be looking ahead that could ultimately hold this team back. As careful as you have to be to take gulps of team culture in an outside view, there’s a swig of this I’m taking regularly. Dan Quinn’s always preached about taking the season one week at a time. To the chorus, DQ! To the chorus!

This team is going to be hungry to take advantage of that schedule, and their complete roster, to push for another Super Bowl shot. This might be as good as a chance as they’ll get in the remainder of the Quinn/Ryan era. That’s not to say this is it, but this is going to be close to it.

Looking ahead could sink the Battleship Brotherhood. The closer they get to the playoffs (look, barring catastrophe, that’s a good estimation of where this is headed), the more they’re going to have to buckle in. 2016 produced a magic that’s hard to recapture; 2017 showed what happened when you tried to make lightening strike twice. Needless to say, it doesn’t work like that, not by a long shot. You’ve got to find your new groove, and hammer it in. Find new sparks of special, and don’t try to force redemption. Let it happen naturally.

Quinn’s always been good about keeping guys in the right mindset, and time heals all wounds. But, 28-3 is going to continue to be a little voice in the back of the locker room, pushing guys to work hard, yes, but also work toward a lofty goal; not just a Super Bowl win, but a Super Bowl rectification. Avenging 28-3 obviously is what you want, but ironically, not focusing on it is how you achieve it.

The Falcons are a young, promising football team with veteran pillars to guide the way. They’re in a great spot right now, with few, if any, weak links. They’re in position to do some awesome things this season, and you should darn right be excited for training camp to get underway. This is going to be a fun one. But, y’know, don’t look ahead. We could all take on the Quinn method for this; take it a week at a time.

If we don’t, we’ll all be continuously looking ahead to somewhere we won’t get to.