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Can the Falcons break their streak of odd year futility in 2019?

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The Falcons are a winning team in even years since 2000, but a losing team in odd years.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Heading into last year, we talked a lot about the odd pattern of our Atlanta Falcons since the year 2000, which entails even year excellence and odd year awfulness. That even year Falcons success looked something like this:

Even Years: 85-58, 6 playoff appearances, 5-6 playoff record, 3 Conference Championship Games, 1 Super Bowl

Odd Years: 60-79, 2 playoff appearances, 1-2 playoff record

Given that at that point we had almost two decades under our belt, we had seen enough to declare this a trend, albeit one impossible to draw any sweeping conclusions from. It at least made us feel good about the possibility of a strong 2018, however, with this now-haunting passage serving as our only caution.

The answer, as we’ve suggested throughout the offseason, is yes. There are real juggernauts in the NFC at the moment, but barring major injuries, Atlanta’s going to be one of them.

The Falcons dealt the narrative a blow with their awful 2018, with those major injuries cropping up right on schedule. That transformed our even year/odd year into this:

Even Years: 92-67, 6 playoff appearances, 5-6 playoff record, 3 Conference Championship Games, 1 Super Bowl

Odd Years: 60-79, 2 playoff appearances, 1-2 playoff record

The even year success is still tough to ignore, but more than that, the lack of success in odd years is impossible to skate by. The Falcons are better positioned, depth-wise, to weather injuries this year, and the overall talent level on the roster is better than it was a year ago and even in 2017. That should suggest the Falcons are well-positioned to bounce back, but as Falcons fans, we’ve learned that there are no guarantees in that regard.

The positive note? The 2018 season wasn’t doomed solely by injuries, but it arguably primarily was given that they lost or saw poor play from the likes of Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, Deion Jones, Robert Alford, Andy Levitre, Brandon Fusco, and Ryan Schraeder, among others, which suggests they’re not an awful football team that needed a complete rebuild. They also achieved their sole odd year playoff victory since 2000 in 2017, when Steve Sarkisian was a rookie NFL offensive coordinator and the Falcons still had some major holes on the roster that don’t necessarily exist today. If they were going to be truly successful in any odd year, this one would probably be the one, which I hope cheers you at least a little.

My hope is that we finally enter an era where the Falcons are not inexplicably less successful in odd years, and are perennial winners in perpetuity. Succeeding in 2019 would be an excellent start in that regard.