This game will feature two of the better coached teams in the NFL. Mike Smith barely edged out Tony Sparano in the Coach of the Year award last year. The two men did a magnificent job of turning around two franchises in dire straits. Coach Smith helped fans forget about the MV debacle and the Bobby Prictrino cowardly midnight jolt, and Coach Sparano helped Dolphin fans forget that they were one game away from going 0-16. Both coaches came in with a gameplan and meshed with a new GM that set out to completely alter the franchise towards a more grounded, long-term approach. Both coaches do an excellent job of preparing their respective teams week in and week out.
Free Agency/Trade – Tony Gonzalez, Mike Peterson, Brian Williams, Tye Hill
Draft – Peria Jerry, William Moore, Chris Owens, Lawrence Sidbury
Losses – Dominique Foxworth, Grady Jackson, Keith Brooking, Lawyer Milloy, Michael Boley, Harry Douglas (IR)
Atlanta Falcons Season Prediction Friendly Competition
And now for the Big Competition of the Year: time to put on your prediction hat and prognosticate how the Falcons season will play out, game by game. Predictions will be kept on hard drive, scored from week to week, and standings will be updated. No need to guess the final score, except for the first game: Falcons-Dolphins for tie-breaking purposes. In event of likely ties, Cage members with more direct hits (choosing wins-losses against correct opponents) will be first tie-breaker and Falcons-Dolphins score will be second tie-breaker. Only rule is to post it on this topic, or the Big Game preview post coming Friday before noon on Sunday. Do your best to forecast how the Birds will pan out this year and be named King of the Bird Cage after the final whistle blows against the Bucs on January 3rd, 2010. Here’s my attempt:
Falcons vs. Dolphins – Loss (Falcons 27, Dolphins 34)
Tough, hard fought game until the end. Late field goal puts Dolphins ahead for good and they claim the W.
Falcons vs. Panthers – Win
Falcons protect the Terror-Dome in a bitter NFC South fight
Falcons @ Patriots – Loss
Patriots jump on Falcons Defense early, and they struggle to recover
Falcons @ 49ers – Win
Surprisingly close victory with a much improved 49ers team
Falcons vs. Bears – Loss
Cutler and Forte match Matty Ice and Turner score for score and this time, the Bears prevail at the end
Falcons @ Cowboys – Win
Another high scoring contest, but the Falcons get some help from emerging corners and Birds pull away in the end
Falcons @ Saints – Loss
Brees and newly retooled defense take down the Falcons on Monday Night Football
Falcons vs. Redskins – Win
Another nail-biter, but Jason Campbell can’t replicate Ryan’s offensive firepower
Falcons @ Panthers – Loss
Panthers get revenge at home in Charlotte by running the ball on the Falcons defense.
Falcons @ Giants – Loss
Birds hit the .500 mark for this first time this year in a tough game in New York
Falcons vs. Bucs – Win
Birds regroup with a victory over the rebuilding Bucs
Falcons vs. Eagles – Loss
The supercharged atmosphere will be one of the best games of the year, but the Falcons old QB will not play a major role in this defeat.
Falcons vs. Saints – Win
Falcons continue trading home and home victories with the Saints and Panthers.
Falcons @ Jets – Win
Run control offense will play well and win against the Jets long out of the playoff picture
Falcons vs. Bills – Win
Even with T.O., the Bills O-Line and defense can’t make up for the potential offensive firepower.
Falcons @ Bucs – Win
Even though rebuilding, Bucs make this one really close in the last game of the year
9 – 7 (Wild-Card Playoff Spot)
Don’t want to sound negative on prognostication, but much rather under-predict and be surprised than over-predict and be disappointed. Many of the losses will be hard fought and really could swing either way, but the combination of so many new faces on the defensive side of the ball and one of the hardest schedules in the league will force our offense to over-extend and try to win too many games. The Falcons continue the process with a worse record, but overall better and deeper team, setting up the chance for a legit Super Bowl run in 2010.
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