Atlanta Falcons – The Great Bird Cage Season Prediction Competition

Time for Your Annual Predictions

Julio's Time to Shine (AJC)

There’s a crisp in the air (well, not really here in Georgia), college football’s already started, tailgates are getting planned, and the new Atlanta Falcons season is right around the corner. So of course that means its time to put your prediction hats on and guess the Falcons wins and losses for the year. Let’s get to it….

1) Falcons @ Chiefs – Win

It’s going to be an emotional game for Tony Gonzalez and his return home to Kansas City, where he spent — years. It’s also one of the more intriguing matchups on opening weekend. GM Thomas Dimitroff is also fielding his Falcons against his mentor in New England in GM Scott Pioli. The Chiefs are on the way up, but the Falcons got to get this one and start the year off right, unlike the last two years suffering opening day losses to the Steelers and Bears. Its close , but the Birds get by and get the W.

2) Falcons vs. Broncos – Win

What a Fun Game (AP)

One of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game returns to the NFL in this exciting Monday Night Football contest. This one will be one of Mike Nolan’s toughest tests as new Falcons defensive coordinator. Peyton Manning will surely get his yards and TDs, but the Falcons first home game combined with the Birds offense vs. the Broncos defense will see them notch their second win.

3) Falcons @ Chargers – Loss

The Falcons make the long trip to San Diego and may be reeling some after two hard fought games. Norv Turner’s job is on the line this year and the Chargers have to return to the playoffs after a few less-than-stellar years of underachieving. Phillip Rivers has some more offensive weapons to work with and their defense finds a way to bottle up the Falcons offense enough to hand the Falcons their first loss.

4) Falcons vs. Panthers – Win

Many are picking thd Panthers as the “bust out” team of 2012 after Cam Newton got rookie of the year while leading his team to a 6-10 record all the while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. There’s no denying that this will be a tough game, but the Birds defense held Newton in check under Brian Van Gorder, so Nolan should be able to do it. Newton’s probably more concerned with charging thousands of dollars for his autograph and wearing his trademark towels in his head anyways.

5) Falcons @ Redskins – Win

Falcons Have Good Record vs. Rookie QB's (AP)

Robert Griffin III may end up having an excellent year and being a great quarterback, but that has nothing to do with his complete lack of surrounding offensive arsenal. The Skins unbelievable trade to get Griffin III makes the Falcons trade for Julio look like tiddlywinks. It’s an away game and it does come after a pretty rough stretch, but the Falcons defense should hold up against an offense with limited talent and a rookie QB. The offense should get the job done against a D that is improving, but is hardly the Ravens just yet.

6) Falcons vs. Raiders – Win

This game will likely be closer than some think. The Raiders just hired Reggie McKenzie as their GM, longtime #2 from the Packers, and have a lot of young talent on offense. Carson Palmer will be out to prove something in his waning years as a pro and this will be a hungry team after just missing out on the playoffs last year. Their offense may be OK, but their defense doesn’t frighten anyone, at least yet. The Birds better not be peaking ahead to a trip to Philly or this has trap game written all over it

7) Falcons @ Eagles – Loss

The Falcons finally beat the Eagles under Mike Smith, after failing the previous 3 years, in a wild shootout that saw the Falcons former QB get injured in the second half. It was a game that was supposed to propel the Falcons to a great year after beating a seemingly elite opponent. The “Dream Team” Eagles collapsed and the FAlcons went on to massively underachieve. The Falcons certainly should and can win this game, but Andy Reid seems to have Smith’s number (3-1 vs. Smith) and they will look to rebound after a hugely disappointing year that could see Reid on the hotseat. It may be another shootout, but the Falcons come up short this time on the road.

8.) Falcons vs. Cowboys – Win

Giggling and Laughing Like Always (AP)

Speaking about underachieving, the Cowboys have done that in style the last few years. The ‘boys from Dallas seem to be a mess of late, with Dez Bryant beating up his own mother and essentially all of their cornerbacks either holding out or being injured. Everyone and their brother love to criticize Matt Ryan all the while giving Tony Romo a pass because he won “one” playoff game, but he’s also lost 3 playoff games, and some pretty bad ones to boot. This will be another amped game on Sunday Night Football (can’t wait for Chris Collinsworth’s voice can you?), but the Birds take care of business in all three phases of the game. The defense comes up big vs. Romo and the offense plays lights out against a questionable ‘Boys defense.

9) Falcons @ Saints – Loss

The Falcons can talk all they want about being close breaking loose and going on a run, but until they beat the Saints on a consistent basis (an extremely poor record under Smith), all that talk is for nothing. The Saints will still be good even without some of their key players leaving via free agency and their head coach being found guilty of condoning, running, and lying about an illegal, immoral, injurious, and unethical bounty scheme. Nolan will surely have his defense playing better against Brees and Co. (how can it be worse than Van Gorder’s last outing), but the Saints will pull through in the end. Question is, will it be a fair and honest win? It’s tempting to pencil this in as a win, but seeing is believing in the Mike Smith Era.

10) Falcons vs. Cardinals – Win

Some may think this is a potential trap game, being sandwiched in between a home and away series with the hated Saints and an away game with the Bucs, but the Falcons will be coming off a tough loss to their bitter rivals and will take care of business. The Cardinals are at somewhat of a crossroads. The memory of their Super Bowl run has definitely faded, and coach Whisenhunt might be sitting on a warm-to-hot seat after having subpar seasons since Kurt Warner left. The Cardinals may not have the worst QB situation in the NFL, but it’s got to be pretty close. This one’s likely not very close.

11) Falcons @ Bucs – Win

Tons of Talent, but Not Just Yet (AP)

The Bucs are definitely in rebuilding mode, but they shouldn’t suffer from talent both on offense and defense. They went out and signed Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson, and Dallas Clark in free agency and drafted both Alabama safety Mark Barron along with running back Doug Martin. The Bucs have really drafted well the last few years and if they can put it all together, they should be dangerous. But you have to be skeptical about the head coach coming straight from the college ranks. They have the talent and they appear to be on the upswing, but they won’t get it done this year against the Falcons.

12) Falcons vs. Saints – Win

This Thursday Night Football matchup will be the 4th NFL game the Falcons play in an 18 day time span, with two of them being on the road and two of them being at home. The Falcons must take care of this one after dropping the first game on the road to the Saints. If they want to have any hope at the division title, this one is a must without a shadow of a doubt. Drew Brees has had the Falcons number in the Georgia Dome the last few years, but he’s also played a defense more akin to a practice squad than a tough and aggressive defense. Nolan will bring the pressure and Ryan will have many hookups with Roddy, Julio, HD, and Gonzalez. The Saints already thin linebacker unit is struggling even more as the season pushes towards the end. Falcons get it done at home after losing close ones to their enemies in the past.

13) Falcons @ Panthers – Loss

There’s a tendency to not include a game the Falcons should win in theory, and to his credit, Coach Smith has done a good job of winning the games that they should win, but this seems to have letdown game written all over it. The Falcons have had a pretty rough stretch of games including playing 4 games in 18 days, playing their biggest rival twice, and traveling for another conference game in that time period. After coming off an emotional win, the Panthers are in desperation mode to save their season and they find a way to get it done to a Birds team that comes out flat after accumulating a 9-3 record. The Falcons lost a game they shouldn’t have last year to the Bucs in Tampa Bay and this game is eerily similar. Perhaps a defensive struggle ends with the Panthers handing them their 4th loss.

14) Falcons vs. Giants – Win

The Birds host the other Manning brother in the Georgia Dome right in the middle of playoff fever. At this time in 2011, the Giants were fighting for their playoff lives. They won a few games to get into the playoffs and the rest is history. This time will different as the Falcons look for a little payback from bouncing (and frankly embarrassing) them from the playoffs. The Giants may be frontrunners around this time the way the Packers were after their Super Bowl win or they may be struggling to get to the playoffs. Either way, the Falcons rebound at home after a tough NFC South loss in Charlotte. Koetter is no Mularkey, and actually gets some offensive points on the scoreboard.

15) Falcons @ Lions – Loss

A Duo the Falcons Might Not Best this Time Around (AP)

Hard to believe that the Falcons “signature win” came against the Lions in 2011. It was one of the Birds more complete games and the defense answered the bell to being last in the NFL in 3rd down stops. Fans thought it was a sign of things to come, but sadly, it was the pinnacle of an otherwise mediocre year. Sitting at 10-4, the Falcons will be leering an eye towards the playoffs and seeding and get caught against a tough team that only stands to get better with Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson and a very complementary receiving corps. A tough one to give up, as it may have bye week considerations, but it may ultimately benefit in focusing the Falcons for a playoff run.

16) Falcons vs. Bucs – Win

For the second straight year, the Falcons finish their season with the Bucs at home. While the Falcons won’t be getting a team that seemed to quit as they did in 2011, winning this one will surely have playoff seeding implications and likely make a difference for a second NFC South title in 3 years. The Bucs are looking up, but the Falcons are just further along and too stable to give this one up at home.

Final: 11-5, NFC South Champs, #4 Playoff Seed

Your Turn

1) Leadoff: Final 2012 season record

2) Give your wins and losses capsules

3) What will be the Falcons biggest win?

4) Which will be the Birds worst loss?

5) What will the Falcons record be vs. the NFC South?

6) What will the breakdown be vs. the NFC East?

7) Any shocking losses in tow (a la Tampa Bay 2011)?

8.) Any huge wins in store (a la Ravens/Packers 2010)?

9) How will the Birds fair against the AFC West?

10) How do you rate this schedule with years past?

11) Care for any postseason predictions?

960 comments Add your comment


September 4th, 2012
9:56 pm

Enter your comments here


September 4th, 2012
10:00 pm

#3, it will be a combo, winning both games against the Saints!

Big Ray

September 4th, 2012
10:41 pm

Most forget TD is just a few years into being “the man with the plan”, I like to think maybe he is ahead of the game on the learning curve.


Oh, and I see I called it wrong on Samuel vs. DRob. But I KNEW Reynolds would be named starter at RG. We shall soon see if the Pat Hill experience makes the difference.

Because right now I am seeing the EXACT SAME DAMN OL we had last year trotting out there. Huh….

As I figured, HD is the starting PR. I think it’s a smart move, but not necessarily a wise one. HD can definitely break some runs, but again, is this wise?

Liking Quizz at KR, actually. Short, tough, thick…all the reasons why I don’t worry about him so much as I do HD. That said, I’d let Antone Smith run kicks back….but whatever.

The days are counting down…

Surg the urge

September 4th, 2012
10:48 pm

I think we will beat the Eagles and lose to the Cowboys, I also think we will beat the Saints twice. I think the Bucs and Panthers may sneak a win near the end of the season. I think we will lose to the Giants again too but may end up meeting them and beating them in the playoffs. I think we will end up beating the Lions too…

12-4 Falcons.


September 4th, 2012
10:51 pm

11-5 more like 10-6…you smoking something to think that same offensive line can beat the Giants? Did you watch the playoff game? I also see us going 2-2 in first 4 so we might 10-6 only because we beat Carolina twice and get the Wild Card.

To Real

September 5th, 2012
12:00 am

I have us beatin philly on tha road and split with either tampa or tha panthers and a sweep ova tha saints which puts us 12-4 #1 in tha south 2nd seed in tha nfc and my bold prediction has tha falcons beatin philly again in tha nfc champ in tha dome and then goin on to face tha ravens in tha superbowl which by tha way is in tha superdome dis year


September 5th, 2012
12:16 am

Ill take it. A lots gonna depend on this defense, I could see us being even more dominant if they step up.

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September 5th, 2012
6:56 am

Early morning Cage – I’ll offer my picks later today, but I wanted to take a quick minute to again express my extreme gratitude for the Cage. I mentioned a few days ago that my family had been dealing with some difficult times that had culminated with my own stay in the hospital. I have been at home for just over a week recovering from surgery and catching up on my Birds.

I joined the Cage a few years ago (not an OBCM) and was immediately welcomed. We’ve all read dozens of blogs and it amazes me how ugly and frankly stupid people are to each other on these sites. But the Cage was immediately a different place. I’ll never forget the first person to welcome me was Sarah B. Then quick friendships developed with SW, D3, and many others. A lot had to do with appreciation of military service in my case, but it was all deeply rooted in a shared appreciation for a team we truly love.

Now, I’ve had my fights like most everyone else. Frankly, most came at the beginning and were probably my fault. I can claim that I was on guard due to my expectations of how I would be treated (kind of the rules of engagement learned from other blogs), but I own most of it. I’m pretty vocal, generally considered negative, and I’m stubborn. Thankfully, I’ve grown to apprecciate diverse opinions, even ones I think are idiotic as just that… opinions. Opinions of a brother or sister who is just like me… a fanatic.

So, what is this all about? I wanted to stop for a moment and openly thank the members of this Cage. This is where I came to seek refuge during deployments, tough times at work, and after challenging times with family and health. Seriously, how speical is that? I’ve never personally met any member here, but I feel like I’d stand shoulder to shoulder with dozens of you if a bar fight ever broke out.

Yesterday, as I lay on the couch recovering, my wife brought in the mail and said “Honey you have a package here from a… Devitt. Who’s Devitt?” I Immediately perked up and thought, “D3?” Yep. A handwritten note and a couple of Falcon’s swag items sent all the way to Texas just to say get well.

What can I say, but amazing and… Thank you.

Dem Dirty Birdz

September 5th, 2012
7:58 am

10-6 Second in division.

Losses to Charges, Eagles, Cowboys, Saints, Giants and Lions.

Toughest schedule in quite a while. What do all theses losses have in common? Great passing teams. While I have faith we are developing one of our own (great passing team), it still remains to be seen what our (shady, at best) secondary can do. Not to mention that our offensive line is my greatest concern. We’ve gotta keep Matt Ryan upright and control the line of scrimmage if we plan to showcase our throwing attact and run the clock down in the end of a shoot out (4 min. offense).

Wild card playoff birth. More than anything, all I want is to get Tony a playoff win before he retires. But this team is going to have to prove to me that they can do it, because it’s not expected from this DirtyBird Fanatic. I don’t see us making a real playoff run. I would agree that football is a game of momentum and that if you get hot at the right time anything is possible. But what do almost all of these “hot at the right time” deep playoff teams have in common? Strong defensive lines (ability to pressure the qb) and strong offensive lines. We my friends are lacking in both departments.

I believe our time will come. But it’s my belief that our “win now” mentality is what may hurt us in the next two or so years. We need to build up our lines threw the draft and that takes time. Look at the formula of the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots and Packers…..

Falcons Chic

September 5th, 2012
8:07 am

Big Ray nailed it. Unless we fix the OL, we are just paddling in the pond.


September 5th, 2012
8:14 am

DDB – Logic is solid and right on target. Concur.


September 5th, 2012
9:01 am

Good morning Cage…our time draws near. Our

First, best wishes and a continued speedy recovery to my warrior brother Coop. Secondly, thanks to all for the continuing prayers for my Angel. She is not doing well and in open honesty, I am praying that the Divine will soon take her to a better place. I love her immensely but the options are fewer and fewer with each passing day.

The 53 man roster is set and I will leave it at that. There will be a time for questions later but for now, I simply want to see what we do with what we have. The new coordinators have their troops and the exercises are over. It is now time to do battle in the arena. 31 other teams want the same thing…the Lombardi. Are we, the Atlanta Falcons, hungry? Are we focused? Are we driven?

We have four months to find out. The time for talk is over. The Process, Part II, begins for real, in the hostile environment that is Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

I’m not rising up. Been up for a long time. For me, it is all about the mission. Attack, attack, and attack. Kick them in the ass; smash them in the mouth. Leave your mark and establish your will against each opponent we face. Like Mick would tell the Rock, THERE IS NO TOMORROW. It is our time and our time is now!!


September 5th, 2012
9:06 am

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September 5th, 2012
9:11 am

Big Ray, as far as the OL is concerned, are you really surprised? When we took the best center in the draft and immediately started talking about him as a guard, I knw that this open competition line was another in the continuing series of snow jobs we have been fed.

But there is a difference that may help this line become better in time. MR2 is playing like the MR2 we ACC fans know so very well. His quicker release and the use of shorter drops as well as a true emphasis on the intermediate passing attack will make this line look BETTER this year. Koetter is truly understanding of the CRITICAL need to integrate ALL aspects of this immensely talented QB’s game into the playbook. Screen passes as well as the intermediate (10-20 yards) plays, coupled with a dangerous set of receivers that TRULY now understand the YAC concept, will lift this team to new heights.

There is reason to be concerned however if Smitty has the ability to “inject” his opinions into the offensive game plan. Personally, I say stay the hell away from the offense CMS!! Let these two coordinators do what they do. You brought them in for a reason; let them do it!!


September 5th, 2012
9:35 am

As I figured, HD is the starting PR. I think it’s a smart move, but not necessarily a wise one. HD can definitely break some runs, but again, is this wise?

Liking Quizz at KR, actually. Short, tough, thick…all the reasons why I don’t worry about him so much as I do HD. That said, I’d let Antone Smith run kicks back….but whatever.

BR, I would say why not let Antone Smith have both roles. Did we (CMS) not learn anything from the near disaster that was the Akeem Dent “concussion” in the preseason. Why would you risk the WR3 and the primary backup running back on PR/KR duties?

BIGGER QUESTION: Quizz IS the pulse of the evolving screen game for the Falcons. Again, why risk his health with play on KR/PR. The TeePee does not like it.

Antone could handle both duties with ease. I have said all the time that he was more like Leon Washington when he was in Tallahassee than he was like Warrick Dunn. And we all know what Leon can do in the return game.

TeePee opinion…another mis-use of crucial talent.


September 5th, 2012
9:56 am

As far as season predictions go, I will make a few minor adjustments to the comments posted early by Dem Dirty Birdz. An excellent breakdown, DDB.

I do think that the Falcons will beat the Chargers. That team is under immense pressure to succeed early and I do not think that they will. If focused, the Falcons could go out there and win. Pressure Rivers and they (the Chargers) will melt down.

I think the Falcons could come out of the blocks with a 6-0 run. Honestly, there is not a team in the period leading up to the bye that scares me. People will point to Denver and Peyton but if Nolan is on his game, the pressure will be furious. Newton is turnover prone when pressured so we can gain an advantage there. Arrowhead is always a tough place to win at but the Falcons have more firepower than KC and Koetter WILL USE it. The Redskins will have growing pains as will the Raiders. So 6-0 is more possible than most think.

The Eagles and Cowboys are desperate teams. They need to win NOW. And they will be measuring sticks for the Falcons. Both teams are immensely talented but like ATL, have underachieved on the big stages. It has to end for someone. Unfortunately, I see back to back losses for ATL.

Then comes the dreaded trip to the House that FEMA rebuilt. Let me say it now…the TWO games against the Saints ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT GAMES OF THE YEAR. And if we are to win the division, we will need to win the BOTH. We will not. Both teams will win on the other’s home turf.

The Falcons then get on a roll before the Sunday night game against the G-men. Another measuring stick game here. And we get the win in a close one. We lose to the Lions but end the season with a victory against Tampa to close things out.

So where do we finish? The TeePee is going to roll with a 12-4 finish, the NFC South championship, and a first round bye. The Falcons will see Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks come to ATL in the first round of the playoffs. Wilson will give the Falcons all they can handle but Nolan will be the difference and the Falcons will advance to the conference championship where they will play the Green Bay Packers. Offensively, now the odds are more even and Nolan will out fox Capers. The Falcons, however, will drop a close one (four points) to the Pack in the NFC title game.

The Process, Part II, is deemed a RESOUNDING success. 12-4, NFC south title, a playoff team against a surprisingly good Seahawks team that many are overlooking.

You heard it hear from TeePee Sports. Hope I got it right. If not, then the disconnect I spoke of early in the year will be painfully evident. But will not go there…not today. I’m optimistic.


September 5th, 2012
9:59 am

SeminoleWarrior the learning curve with the coaches appears to be at least 12 months behind the thinking of the Cage. It takes a whole season to recognize issues that affect the team.


September 5th, 2012
10:00 am

Good arguments, D3. The alternating home-away schedule this year means the Falcons won’t be able to coast on home-field advantage, and shortened weeks will probably take their toll when travel is stacked on top of practice. I don’t think that’s lost on the coaches, and I’d hope it would make the team even more focused, rather than cause them to fizzle out prematurely.

At any rate, I’m revising my 12-4 prediction from earlier this year to 13-3, with losses against the Saints, Eagles, and Lions. To be honest, though, I think this team could do even better than that. Who knows how the Saints will fare without their head coach, but the Eagles are always at risk of losing Vick (though that’s mostly his fault), and we did beat Detroit last year with a not-as-good team. The Giants, Panthers, and Chargers are all overrated, in my opinion, and the jury’s still out on Peyton and the Broncos. This is the year we start beating tough opponents and cement our position as one of the best.


September 5th, 2012
10:02 am

Oh, and I won’t say anything about the postseason. I’d rather wait and see how accurate one prediction is before making the next one.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
10:06 am

The Falcons will be on a misson, so there won’t be any let downs or taking opponents for granted. I agree with D3 on most of his picks, except I believe we’ll beat Carolina both gms. The Philly gm should be a win as well, because even though it’s a road gm we’ll be coming off our bye week.

This Falcons team is far more talented than the 2010 team that went 13-3. We have so much young Probowl and Probowl caliber talent on the field, and now we finally have the talent on the sidelines, along with their schemes, direction, and approach, to get the most out of all that talent.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
10:08 am

Don’t forget, we were just 2 very winnable last minute losses to Tampa Bay and New Orleans from being 12-4 last yr.


September 5th, 2012
10:19 am

Wings, I concur.

Snack, we seem to be coming from the same points of order.

K Strick, first and foremost, how is the first lady doing? I agree with the premise that this is a MUCH more talented team across the board. And I am hoping that the faith you have given both of the new coordinators all this offseason is warranted. You certainly have won me over. Koetter has brought out the MR2 that I have longed for, the MR2 that I appauled us for drafting over Dorsey. And Nolan seems to be looking to build a core defensive unit that will dominate not just this year but for years to come. Like Wade Phillips, Nolan is a coordinator that should always remain a coordinator.

Paddy O

September 5th, 2012
10:29 am

this is of course tough to do without having seen our team in action. due to the relative lack of genuine facts & evidence; I’d say we will go somewhere between 11-5 and 15-1. I think we’ll lose to the Giants.

Paddy O

September 5th, 2012
10:32 am

If we use HD as punt returner, we are dumb as a rock. Never use a key player on offense. I would prefer toone as our kick returner; which again brings me back to the short sightedness of cutting Franks.

Big Lou

September 5th, 2012
10:51 am


Losses at the Saints, at Philly, vs Giants, at Chargers, and screw one up at the Panthers.

I will answer all the questions after work. Great article and predictions, D3.

Hamad Meander

September 5th, 2012
11:05 am

Here go:

@ Kansas City – 14-10 W
Denver – 21 – 31 L
@ San Diego – 30 – 24 W
Carolina – 21-14 W
@ Washington – 14-3 W
Oakland – 45 – 20 W
@ Philly – 7 – 20 L
Dallas – 23 – 20 W
@ New Orleans – 35-38 L
Arizona – 24-14 W
@ Tampa Bay – 35 – 21 W
New Orleans – 24 – 28 L
@ Carolina – 28 – 10 W
NY Giants – 31 – 38 L
@ Detroit – 27 – 20 W
Tampa Bay – 45-24 W

Record 11-5, NFC # 3 seed

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
11:22 am

CAGERS-Here’s a very informative read on our rookies and their long term potential, enjoy.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
11:25 am

It’s hard to believe we won’t have an excellent season with the type of grades our OFF and DEF has been given.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
11:36 am

CAGERS-Another very informative article on LT LHolmes and why we were very smart to draft him, especially when we did. He’s managed to do extremely well after missing all OTAs and most of training camp. Do you think he’s be a serious challenger to SBaker if he hadn’t missed out on all of that hands on training, experience, and preparation?

One thing is certain, LT SBaker, RG GReynolds, and OC TMcClure had better enjoy their final yr as starters on our OL.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
11:42 am

Surg the Urge

September 5th, 2012
11:45 am

This is a new year and teams have had a offseason… This will improve defenses and offensive schemes around the league. Drew Brees, Eli, and Brady will not put up the stats they did last year. It will be teams with a run game/balanced attack that dominate this year. Saints will still be competitive because of Sproles, but they will not put up as many points as they did last year, I believe The Saints will have turnover problems and will have to ‘pace’ their attack(run the ball conventionally). Their defense will struggle on third down also. Eagles will start off hot but I think a win against a team like theirs will solidify our position as a top NFC team, so I think we will come out guns blazing to make that statement known(our running game will make the difference). We don’t have the best o line in the world but with our running game it won’t hinder us too much unless a team with a really good d line gets a big lead(Giants), and if that’s the case our defense will have to step up and create turnovers and pressure(please Nolan make some magic!). Overall, I think we may struggle a Lil until week 3-4, then we’ll slowly start to emerge as a dangerous team peaking near the end of the season. I think we’ll be on our A game by the time the playoffs come. I think our new coaches will pay dividends.

Paddy O

September 5th, 2012
11:51 am

the key to our season is to come out guns blazing, settle into a nice rhythm and kick the crap out of KC. That way we have confidence and momentum – and some confirmation that we can thrive. Last year’s Chicago debacle shocked the entire team and fan base. However, Smitty Ball remains – why else would you float the notion that NOT announcing you RG gives you a competitive advantage? I fear Smitty reacts to the opposition, as opposed to being determined to dominate the competition – it may be the hallmark of SMITTY BALL in Atlanta. Problems may still linger I fear. BTW, I would agree that Smith would be the right choice to return kicks.

Surg the Urge

September 5th, 2012
11:58 am

I really don’t care about the regular season record it’s all about what we do when we get to the playoffs. I’m hoping our defense develops a blood thirsty mentality by the time we get there.

John Waynesworld

September 5th, 2012
1:01 pm

Thanks, D3. Tick, tock…

@ Kansas City – W
Denver – L
@ San Diego – W
Carolina – W
@ Washington – W
Oakland – W
@ Philly – L
Dallas – W
@ New Orleans – L
Arizona – W
@ Tampa Bay – L
New Orleans – W
@ Carolina – L
NY Giants – W
@ Detroit – L
Tampa Bay – W

Record 10-6, NFC South Champs or NFC Wild Card


September 5th, 2012
1:14 pm

10-6 and Wildcard. We hit a rough patch with 3 losses in a row… but still end up recovering enough to seal a wildcard.
My biggest fear going into the year.. our O Line allowing Ryan to get pounded…
@ Kansas City-W
Denver- W
@ San Diego – L
Carolina W
@ Washington -W
Oakland -W
@ Philly L
Dallas L
@ New Orleans – L
Arizona –W
@ Tampa Bay – W
New Orleans – W
@ Carolina –L
NY Giants – L
@ Detroit –W
Tampa Bay – W


September 5th, 2012
1:48 pm

Let the games begin.


September 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

Caleb makes a really good point in this article. Though I’m not sold on all of the teams he mentions, the NFC is definitely a powerhouse. Some may only care about the playoffs, but the Falcons have to spend the entire regular season proving that they’re better than these teams JUST to get there.

Side note: who’s watching Cowboys/Giants tonight? I think it’s a toss-up; maybe that Giants D-line will prove me wrong.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
2:22 pm

After looking at some of your projections, it’s plain to see some of you are still unable to get past LAST YRS OL problems. Even though we’re returning the same OL that started last yr, the issues we had at LT and RG won’t be issues like they were last yr.

Before last yrs holdout, GReynold was an OT with no previous training at OG. He was switched to RG after the holdout without being allowed to even talk to any of his coache about the move. There were no OTAs, and he had only a limited training camp and an abreviated preseason to make the transition. It’s a miracle he made it as far along as he did before being replaced.

Mularkey and Boudreaux placed him in a no win situation, which was a downright stupid thing for them to do. After a full off season, OTAs, and a full training camp and preseason to work on the position he knew he’d be playing, he’s done quite well. Our OL won’t have to deal with the burden that Mularkey and Boudreaux’s limited blocking scheme, play calling, conservative, predictable and limited OFF approach caused.

It just might be that Reynolds has adjusted quite well, as well as benefitted, from our new blocking scheme and approach, just like some of our former players failed to adjust to those same new schemes and approaches. Why make such conservative predictions based solely on last yrs issues? It’s funny how CAGERS see teams like the Panthers, Bucs, Eagles, Bronco’s etc, overcoming their issues, including OL issues, but can’t envision their own Falcons doing the same.

And finally, despite our OL issues, and issues with inconsistency in our rushing OFF, we still managed to score 25.2PPG. Therefore, our problems weren’t with our OFF, but with our DEF which was ranked at or near the top of the league in
1-big plays allowed of 20yds or more
2-3rd down inefficiency
3-poor overall pass DEF
4-a lack of sacks, INTs and creating turnovers.
5-pts allowed
6-scoring DEF

If we can turn those DEF liabilities around, our OL won’t ever have to be mentioned.


September 5th, 2012
2:34 pm

From Page 2 Easterbrook

Breed of bird that keeps
laying eggs in postseason.
Atlanta Falcons.
Forecast finish: 10-6


September 5th, 2012
2:44 pm

@LRD: Typical ESPN brilliance. I’m done with opinions on that site. Just news and statistics.

Ken Strickland

September 5th, 2012
3:04 pm

DBrees and the Chargers didn’t win a single playoff gm during the 4yrs he started, and it took an additional 3yrs with the AINTS/TAINTS before they won their 1st playoff gm together. It also took PManning and the Colts 6yrs to win their 1st playoff gm. Although we’ve had the same QB and HC over the last 4yrs, we’ll start this season with our 2nd or 3rd DB coach, 2nd OL coach, 2nd DC, 2nd OC, and 2nd QB coach.

Our playoff success will start this season, and what has happened in the past won’t matter or have any effect on what we do from this season forward. DBrees’ 7yrs of playoff failure and PManning’s 6yrs of playoff failure certainly didn’t stop them and their teams from winning Superbowls.

JB Falcon

September 5th, 2012
3:06 pm


September 5th, 2012
3:28 pm

Snacktastic.. I like Easterbrook though… some football, some trivia, some science .. always an interesting article by him.

John Waynesworld

September 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

JBF, along the same lines as your article…

As far as Berry and Charles, it will be interesting to see how far they push those repaired knees in their first REAL game back. We all saw how long it took Harry Douglas to get up to speed.


September 5th, 2012
5:47 pm

@LRD: I’ll admit TMQ is pretty interesting, but if I hear one more quip about the Falcons in the playoffs I might have to shoot my TV.

Brian Hunt

September 5th, 2012
5:51 pm

@ Kansas City – W
Denver – W
@ San Diego – W
Carolina – W
@ Washington – W
Oakland – W
@ Philly – L
Dallas – W
@ New Orleans – L
Arizona – W
@ Tampa Bay – W
New Orleans – W
@ Carolina – W
NY Giants – L
@ Detroit – W
Tampa Bay – L

12-4 NFC South Champs

Mike Franklin

September 5th, 2012
6:32 pm

Regardless of the sniping from ESPN, I don’t think the Falcs have a very easy season. if we emerge at 11-5, I’ll feel like we have taken one more step.


September 5th, 2012
7:04 pm

KS, love that 3:04PM post. It illustrates that it takes a while to win in this league even for who are considered to be the best out there. I’m sure there are probably other greats who won in shorter time but for these two it clearly shows that anybody who counts MR2 out is an idiot. I’m with you…he will ascend this year and I’m looking forward to the transformation we are about to see.

There has never been a more talented group of players at the skill positions for the Atlanta Falcons. The weapons will be unleashed on unsuspecting prey. I’m ready for 3 and 4 receiver sets plus a RB; defenders are going to have to pick their poison; Hopefully no more stacking the box play after play!


September 5th, 2012
7:07 pm

Are you ready for some FOOTBALLl!!!!!!!!

Its been a long offseason but the NFL and JJ’s repeat championship season starts TONIGHT!!!!

WR, hope the AWARD WINNING weekend prediction offices are gearing up for another season.