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Falcons final record roundtable at the bye

We’ve got some light optimism about this team’s chances of winning games in the second half, but not about where they’ll finish.

Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before the season, we made predictions about Atlanta’s final record in 2020. The highest prediction was 10-6 and the lowest prediction was 7-9, and technically both of those records are still possible, even if one seems extremely unlikely.

Now is a good time to re-visit those predictions and see if they need adjustment, because the Falcons did exactly what we all feared and once again came out of the gate limping. After the Falcons made the risky decision to keep Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff around after a second consecutive 7-9 season that saw the team start 1-7, they went 0-5 to start this year and cleaned house.

Since then, though, they’ve gone 3-1 against the soft part of their schedule, which suggests they can at least be more competitive during their final seven post-bye games against the toughest part of the schedule. Here’s a look at our September predictions and how we’re feeling now.

Original Prediction: 8-8

Revised Prediction: 7-9

The last thing I want is the Falcons finishing at 7-9 for the third straight year, matching the humiliating mid-2010s Saints run that I’ve been so fond of bashing all this time. I do think it’s quite possible.

The Falcons are clearly playing better football right now, even if it has been against so-so football teams, and I think they’ll once again come out of the bye playing good enough football to win some games you might not expect. I think they can steal one from the Saints and Bucs and probably triumph over the Raiders and Chargers, but that they won’t be able to win enough games to stave off their third consecutive sub-.500 finish with the overall difficulty of the slate. The end result will be that absolutely no one is satisfied and the next regime will have to pick up the pieces, but we sort of knew that was coming anyways. —Dave Choate

Original Prediction: 7-9

Revised Prediction: 6-10

Before the season, I wanted to be optimistic but noted that the team really did not look improved over 2019. The Falcons still needed to see some unlikely things, like a dramatic improvement in coaching and player performances. The same had been true for years, so 7-9 felt much more likely than anything else. Now it is time to adjust that pessimistic prediction downward after an 0-5 start and a change in some coaching. The Falcons appear significantly better under Raheem Morris but the team burned up the easy part of their schedule blowing massive leads.

With an unimaginable tough remaining schedule, I can optimistically only find about three more wins hoping they can split with Tampa Bay and New Orleans, and win against the Chargers who have been doing their best Dan Quinn impression all season. —Matt Chambers

Original Prediction: n/a

Current Prediction: 8-8

The Falcons have executed to perfection this season—that is, they’ve managed to do exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to do.

I frequently mention the ostensibly productive offseason the Falcons pulled off because I still can’t wrap my mind around how we got here. Sure, there were real concerns about Dante Fowler’s 2019 sack total being inflated by the fact that he played next to otherworldly DT Aaron Donald. But Grady Jarrett is no slouch, so hope sprung eternal. That is only one example of the charade the Falcons fan base endured over the last 12 months.

Being a Falcons fan isn’t easy, but it’s particularly rough when you know that the team isn’t playing to its potential. The Falcons have seemingly righted their ship with Raheem Morris at the helm, and I expect them to be competitive during the second half, notwithstanding the difficult slate ahead. —James Rael

Original Prediction: Let’s leave the past in the past

Current Prediction: 5-11

It honestly seems as if there has been two seasons within the first nine games for the Falcons. You have an 0-5 start that resulted in two much needed firings within the Falcons organization. Then you have a 3-1 stretch in which the Falcons were one brain fart away against Detroit from being 4-5 and having a genuine shot at the playoffs.

I hate to be that guy however but the rest of the season for Atlanta is going to be brutal. With games against the Bucs (2x), Saints (2x), Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders, seeing them muster maybe a couple of victories is best case scenario. What was an already tough start to the season is bound to get even more grittier. - Eric Robinson