Game by game: Here’s how the 2010 Falcons will finish 12-4

"Super Bowl's way," Tom Brady tells Matt Ryan. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

"The Super Bowl's that way," Tom Brady tells Matt Ryan. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Falcons will finish 12-4 and win the NFC South. Here’s how:

At Pittsburgh, Sept. 12: You don’t like playing these guys anywhere, especially up there on Opening Day with the Steelers coming off a dud season. But if you have to do it, this is the year. Because Ben Roethlisberger won’t be playing. Falcons 21, Steelers 16.

Arizona, Sept. 19: The great receiver Larry Fizgerald sprained a knee ligament in an exhibition game but is expected back for the regular season. Won’t matter. He no longer has Kurt Warner throwing to him. He has Matt Leinart, who hasn’t done a thing since college. Falcons 30, Cardinals 14.

At New Orleans, Sept. 26: Here’s where the watching world starts to take the Birds seriously. The Falcons nearly won in the Superdome last November at a time when the Saints were unbeaten. This time they’ll render the Saints unbeaten no more. Falcons 26, Saints 24.

San Francisco, Oct. 3: A potential misstep. The Falcons are coming off a win that has led NFL pundits — and there are only 10 zillion — to wonder if they’re the new power in the NFC. The Niners are improving incrementally. A tough game, but still a win. Falcons 23, Niners 17.

At Cleveland, Oct. 10: Mike Holmgren is running the Browns. This will help — eventually. Right now this is an NFL irritants: A road game against a lousy team when you’re 4-0 with everyone singing your praises. Falcons 24, Browns 14.

At Philadelphia, Oct. 17: Here’s where Mercury Morris and the rest of the 1972 Miami Dolphins stop sweating the 2010 Falcons. The Eagles are in post-Donovan McNabb mode, but they’re still an OK team. And the Falcons are  due to lose. Eagles 20, Falcons 17.

Cincinnati, Oct. 24: The Bengals have found themselves again, but you never know how long a roster that includes Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco can co-exist. Lots of national chatter about this one. Lots more about the Falcons when they win. Falcons 34, Bengals 24.

Tampa Bay, Nov. 7: The Falcons exit their bye week atop the NFC South. They consolidate their hold against the only division opponent they swept last season. Falcons 35, Bucs 3.

Baltimore, Nov. 11: This is more like it. A Thursday night game against a tough AFC bunch. Some will see this as the game that proves Joe Flacco is better than Matt Ryan. (The two were first-round picks in 2008.) Scoreboard suggests otherwise. Falcons 20, Ravens 13.

At St. Louis, Nov. 21: Sam Bradford, the No. 1 pick in the April draft, should be starting by now, assuming he hasn’t already been chased out of the lineup by the utter lack of support around him. The Falcons have nine days to prepare, not that they’ll need it. Falcons 31, Rams 10.

Green Bay, Nov. 28: Another delicious Dome date. The Packers and Falcons are two of the NFC’s three best teams. (The Cowboys being the third.) They could well meet in January. If so, the Falcons had better hope for a different result. Packers 24, Falcons 20.

At Tampa Bay, Dec. 5: Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Just an angry team hammering a lousy opponent. Falcons 31, Bucs 10.

At Carolina, Dec. 12: The Panthers are where they usually are in December — trying to slide into the playoff chase. This is a must win for Carolina, and it won’t be for the Falcons, who are 10-2 and a postseason cinch. Desperation carries the day. Panthers 17, Falcons 14.

At Seattle, Dec. 19: The third of three consecutive road games involves a long trip. It also involves an accommodating opponent less talented than the pro-style (heh, heh) teams Pete Carroll coached at Southern Cal. Falcons clinch their division. Falcons 27, Seahawks 14.

New Orleans, Dec. 27: Two nights after Christmas, only one team has much on the table. The Falcons have won the NFC South and need one victory in their final two games to secure a first-round bye. The Saints have to win. And do. Saints 30, Falcons 24.

Carolina, Jan. 2: Here it is, folks, the culmination of the finest regular season this franchise has seen since 1998. Those Birds wound up in the Super Bowl. These Birds just might. Falcons 24, Panthers 10.

201 comments Add your comment

GT92

August 22nd, 2010
2:18 pm

JacketFan86

August 22nd, 2010
2:18 pm

1st! I say 11-5. GO dirty birds!!

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!

August 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

FIRST!

SUCK IT HATERS!

The Falcons wouldn’t beat Coach Saban and the Tide!

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!

August 22nd, 2010
2:21 pm

Anh, whatever! We’re still # 1 in the Polls, and the Falcons STILL wouldn’t beat us.

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cheshire

August 22nd, 2010
2:21 pm

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!! is right, our beloved Falcons don’t have a chance when we play the University of Alabama this year

(???)

Geezerbut

August 22nd, 2010
2:22 pm

My first ever attempt at being first.

Geezerbut

August 22nd, 2010
2:22 pm

Go Falcons anyway.

Cracker Jacket

August 22nd, 2010
2:27 pm

The Falcons have a good chance of being 12-4 but so much rest on the defense ! Tech could beat Alabama this year! Bama will not finish in the top 10!

Buzz

August 22nd, 2010
2:28 pm

Roll Tide??? Ga Tech will have the best defense in the country. Mark my words!

Benjamin

August 22nd, 2010
2:34 pm

Wow… 12-4…

That’s a tough schedule to win 12 games, MB. I’m going to go with 10-6 and a return to the playoffs. [I think we can steal a game while there, but the second round will see our season end. Still, not a bad show.]

OldTimer

August 22nd, 2010
2:35 pm

Want to win this thing, stop treating the Patriot’s Uncle Bill like he’s the next messiah. Smitty already has, now it’s up to the GM. Let’s go!!

Bob Horners texting while driving issues

August 22nd, 2010
2:35 pm

you failed geezer

IceColdATLien

August 22nd, 2010
2:36 pm

It’s optimistic, but I like it

Bob Horners texting while driving issues

August 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

Whats the line on Bama-Falcons game

IceColdATLien

August 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

I think they lose to Baltimore, but other than that agree… I got em going 11-5

BugKiller

August 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

This only comes to fruition if Mike Mularky has his play calling privledges revoked.

As he is good for at least two losses due to his horrible play call selection.

He calls a football game like he’s not even watching what’s happening.

He’s the Falcons version of Soft Willie Martinez. Good for two losses a year.

enz

August 22nd, 2010
2:38 pm

Send me some lottery numbers too while youre at it mark…just kidding…Hopefully, these predictions are at least close!

The Grinch

August 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

It all depends on staying healthy. I was thinking 12-4 during training camp myself, but now we’ve lost Peters and Meier (who I think had a good shot at being our no. 3 WR), and Robinson hasn’t made it to the field yet. IF Douglas and Jerry return to form and IF Jenkins steps it up finally and IF one of the RB’s step up as a change of pace back (I don’t picture Norwood getting 30 carries this whole season) we might go 12-4. I’m leaning more toward 11-5 at the moment.

Charles Jackson

August 22nd, 2010
2:40 pm

Hey, Roll Tide: You’re an idiot.

The Grinch

August 22nd, 2010
2:41 pm

And I agree with IceCold, that additional loss will be to Baltimore.

Ree Roe

August 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

Mark,

I am a huge Falcons fan, but don’t share your optimism about the Birds this yr. 12-4? Sweeping the AFC North? Hmmm, I just don’t see it. Not with this receiving corps & not with this many unknowns on D. 9-7 or 10-6 seems more realistic.

And Falcons are among the top 3 teams in the NFC? We’ll just have to agree to disagree. The Saints, unfortunately, are still better than us. Minny is still better…Green Bay & Dallas are better than us right now at least. Did you see how we played vs. NE against their starters?

-REEal Roe!!!

TwoDat!

August 22nd, 2010
2:44 pm

Mark, you have the falcons winning 3 road games out of their first 5 games including a win in the superdome. Wishful thinking is an understatement. This team has done nothing to prove they can go to Pittsburgh or New Orleans and win on the road. There is an awful lot of hype for a team that missed the playoffs. Not to mention, that New Orleans has gotten better-not worse. Dream on! If the falcons make the playoffs, I will applaud the effort. They will not win the NFC South, and I venture to say they won’t beat out Washington, Seattle, or San Francisco for the final playoff spot.

RC in ATL

August 22nd, 2010
2:45 pm

Wow, Mark Bradley! I hope you are right, man! This would be a fantastic season for the Falcons. And I know you were just really kidding when you picked the Hawks over Orlando!

Reid Adair

August 22nd, 2010
2:46 pm

Defense is definitely going to be the key. A leaner Michael Turner and a constatntly-learning Matt Ryan will lead the offense.

74 Dawg

August 22nd, 2010
2:49 pm

That’s my “best case” scenario, Mark; only I have us beating the Saints here and losing there. In my more reality based scenario, I have the Birds losing to Baltimore based on 3 things: 3 days rest, a better defense, and just a much more physical team. Worst case scenario, they look like they are playing the Patriots half the season, Michael Turner does not re-gain his burst and aggressiveness, and they finish 8 – 8.

74 Dawg

August 22nd, 2010
2:52 pm

two dat- Washington, Seattle and San Fran ? What dat ?

Johns Creek Jacket

August 22nd, 2010
2:58 pm

I love the Falcons but don’t see a 12-4 season unless or defense is doing a ggod job of hiding their talent in the preseason. NE just ran over us whenever they wanted to. Not a good sign.

POWDERDAWG IN DENVER

August 22nd, 2010
3:02 pm

Does anyone know the status of Peter’s? season ending or just banged up?

Spud Webb

August 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Wow, 4-0 vs the AFC north. Cleveland sure…but 3-0 vs baltimore, cincy & the steelers? I’d hope for at least 2-1 at best.

Gwinnett Fred

August 22nd, 2010
3:09 pm

We’re screwed. Anytime Bradley is optimistic about something – it turns to raw sewage (witness Hawks vs. Magic).

The good news is that Bradley knows less about the NFL than the NBA, so hopefully the football Gods won’t hold his prediction against the team.

I’m on board for 10-6, good for a wild card spot.

hmmmm........

August 22nd, 2010
3:12 pm

fsjr

August 22nd, 2010
3:12 pm

MB, I crunched your numbers:

The Falcons will avg 25 ppg and give up a paltry 16 ppg. I can see the 25 ppg but if we only give up 16 ppg, that would mean we most definitely have a Super Bowl caliber defense. Pencil us in?

Sumit

August 22nd, 2010
3:13 pm

Falcons rookie tackle expected to be out for 10 to 14 days Aaron Wilson

Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive tackle Corey Peters’ sprained left knee isn’t regarded as a serious injury, according to NFL sources with knowledge of the situation.

Peters’ magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday didn’t reveal any major damage to the knee. The injury was suffered against the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

Instead of a long-term convalescence, Peters’ recovery time is expected to last between 10 and 14 days.

Season Ticker Holder

August 22nd, 2010
3:24 pm

In 2 preseason games, the first team offense has not scored a TD. The defense is weak against the run and pass. The Falcons will be lucky to go 8 – 8.

rc35

August 22nd, 2010
3:25 pm

De Plane, Boss! De Plane! (For those of you too young to remember, that means “FANTASY ISLAND.”) I wish the Falcons could go 12-4, but could you remind me how they’re going to do that with a QB in a state of arrested development, a receiving corps that lacks the ability to get open or catch a long pass reliably, running backs who seem to be able to bog down behind an overwhelmed OL when the game calls for critical short yardage, a DL who can’t take part in a Gold Rush after Abraham gets tired about Week 4 of the season, and DB’s who get burned more than redheads at the beach without sunscreen?

Mark Bradley

August 22nd, 2010
3:26 pm

fsjr, I wouldn’t bother crunching these numbers. Because I sure didn’t. You’re way too technical for me.

Skydawg

August 22nd, 2010
3:28 pm

Roll Tide, you are truly an a$$hat. But Saban will get his chance to play the Falcons, when he’s the coach of the Dallas Cowboys next year when Wade Phillips is finally shown the door. And it’s going to happen. Jones will throw so much money, the backstabbing Saban won’t be able to turn it down. Then once again, Bama and Tuscaloosa will return to the cesspool it really is.

fsjr

August 22nd, 2010
3:33 pm

(laughing) And on second thought, I guess shouldn’t have either.

michael d

August 22nd, 2010
3:42 pm

i like the prediction but i think we’ll finish 10-6. I don’t see us beating the saints either time because i have been watching the falcons since ‘92 (I’m 27yrs old) and my short history with the falcons reminds me all the time that the falcons have NEVER been able to defend the pass so drew brees should have 2 pro bowl games against us unless robinson is the corner we expect him to be.

murray county mystic

August 22nd, 2010
3:44 pm

Skydawg, you are right about one thing; Saban is leaving Bama after this season. But…he ain’t going to Dallas, he’s going back to Baton Rouge to replace Leslie Miles. Bradley, 12-4?? really?? this club is no better than last years club…10-6, miss the playoffs again..

mario

August 22nd, 2010
3:48 pm

I like this but I have this bunch at 13-3, with us losing @NO, Phil and home vs Ravens……
PLAYOFFS: NFC 1) atl, 2)GB 3)dal 4) SF 5) MIN 6)no, the saints and cowboys have hell of schedules
AFC 1)colts 2)NYJ 3) bal 4) SD 5) NE 6)CIN

WILD CARD: SAT 1/8/11 4:30 MIN @ SF, 8:30 CIN @ BAL
SUN 1/9/11 1PM NO@ DAL, 4:30 NE @ SD
DIVISIONALS SAT 1/15/11 4:30 BAL @ NYJ 8:30 NO @ ATL
SUN 1/16/11 1PM NE @COLTS 4:30 MIN @GB
CONF CHAMPIONSHIPS 1/23/11
SUN 3PM GB @ ATL 6:30 BAL @ COLTS

SUPER BOWL SUN 2/6/11 ATL vs COLTS, COLTS WIN DUE TO SB BEING PLAYED AT LUCAS OIL STADIUM THIS YEAR..

Seth

August 22nd, 2010
3:49 pm

Another joke prediction by MB. Are you this excited by last weeks game? Good gosh do you wear rose colored glasses. This team will be lucky to go 11-5. 9-7 is more likely.

mario

August 22nd, 2010
3:50 pm

MURRAY CO YOU ARE WRONG..HAVE SEEN OUR SCHED WE HAVE NO MORE THAN 4 LOSSES ON THIS TEAM….

Mark Bradley

August 22nd, 2010
3:51 pm

Er, mario … this season’s Super Bowl is set for Jerry Jones’ new palace in Dallas.

DawgNole

August 22nd, 2010
3:56 pm

I don’t know about this one, Mark. Having been a Falcons follower since their creation in the mid-60s, I’d love to see happen what you’re predicting for this season, but there’s just no way. In fact, I don’t believe they’ll even win that opener at the Steelers. Tell you what, if they do (whup the Steelers in Pittsburg), I’ll be right here to salute your brilliant prognostication. If they don’t, you can write, “DawgNole was right!”

I hope DawgNole is wrong.

Don

August 22nd, 2010
3:57 pm

I can’t wait for week 8 when Bradley writes his 8 reasons why the falcons won’t squander their 1 game lead. hahaha

Mark Bradley

August 22nd, 2010
3:57 pm

DawgNole, you’d never go wrong predicting the opposite of my predictions.

Rob

August 22nd, 2010
3:58 pm

This team won’t beat the steelers even without Ben. Mark you are insane with these predictions. 12-4. Can I get some action against that?

DERRICK

August 22nd, 2010
4:08 pm

6-10 IF YOUR LUCKY………….THE FALCONS SUCK.

Delbert D.

August 22nd, 2010
4:09 pm

Mark – Whaddya mean, Leinart hasn’t done anything since college? He’s tied with Aaron Rogers at #6 on the Wondelic for starting QBs, just ahead of Tom Brady and behind Tony Romo.