Sports Illustrated’s love affair with the Falcons continues.
Well, sort of.
After picking them to win the Super Bowl last season, SI tabbed the Falcons to finish 11-6, win the NFC South and then be kicked out of the playoffs — again — in the wild-card round by the Bounty Hunting New Orleans Saints.
You can read more about this diabolical plot in Sports Illustrated’s NFL Preview issue, which hit the newsstands on Wednesday.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King spent some time with us in Flowery Branch during training camp. (He doesn’t have to stay in the media box with the sponsors, either!) However, the local media must thank him for our new coffee machines. On a previous visit, he couldn’t believe there wasn’t any coffee in the media room.
The Falcons had to send an intern out to the QuikTrip to get King some java beans. I pointed out to him that we had a brand new coffee machine and that all of the local hacks were thankful. He seemed to get a kick out of it.
But back to this prediction stuff, his crystal ball is seeing another playoff disaster by the Falcons. Another wild-card loss would make the Falcons 0-4 in the playoffs under coach Mike Smith.
The preview discusses how offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter plans to perk up the offense by throwing deep passes to Julio Jones — we saw that against Miami in the regular-season dress rehearsal — and by throwing screen passes to running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
Kings notes that the pass defense should be improved with the addition of Asante Samuel.
King says of the Falcons: “To win in the postseason the Falcons will practice being more explosive in the regular season. And for that reason, Koetter’s play-calling will be under close scrutiny from the opening snap in Kansas City on September 9. You can almost hear him whispering to Jones: Go deep, young man. Go deep.”
Another playoff loss and this time to the Saints! He even brings up the Braves repeated playoff failures.
King writes: “Much as it was for the crosstown Braves in the ’90s, making the playoffs isn’t enough anymore for the Falcons or their followers. They’ve got to do something when they get there, or [Matt] Ryan risks joining the line of good quarterbacks who couldn’t deliver when it mattered most.”
I’m pretty sure that Falcons owner Arthur Blank will not be too happy if King’s crystal ball is correct.
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