See, I do read your comments. Herein I’ll attempt to parry the main objections raised by the little post in which I predicted the Falcons will go 12-4.
1. There’s no way the Falcons win in New Orleans on Sept. 26. Sure there is. The Falcons almost won there last season and weren’t nearly as good as they should be this time. (And the Saints won’t be nearly the same. You watch.) Besides, the Saints will have already had one massively hyped home date by then against Minnesota and the Man Whose Ego Ate The Twin Cities For Lunch. The Falcons will, by way of contrast, creep into town on little cat feet. And leave victorious.
2. There’s no way the Falcons win on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. Sure there is. Quarterback in the NFL is a fairly major position. The Steelers won’t have theirs.
3. There’s no way the Falcons beat Cincinnati/Baltimore because the AFC North is too good. Sure there is. They’re both good clubs. But the Bengals were 10-6 in 2009 and the Ravens were 9-7. (Note: The Falcons were likewise 9-7.) And the Super Bowl champion emerged from the NFC South, not the AFC North.
4. There’s no way the Falcons lose to Green Bay in the Georgia Dome. Sure there is. It’s the NFL. Any given Sunday. Although I will say that the Falcons’ schedule sets up nicely: The bulk of the tough games are at home, which is what you want.
5. There’s no way the Falcons go 12-4 after the way they looked against New England. Sure there is. It’s preseason. That was preseason. If the game meant something, there’s a good chance Dunta Robinson and Peria Jerry would have participated, and those are two of the key additions — Sean Weatherspoon is the third — to a defense that should be much better than last season’s. I’m pretty sure Bill Belichick didn’t go home and plan a February parade after winning Thursday, and I don’t think Mike Smith will agree to forfeit any of the 16 games that do count.
In closing, I’ll offer this: I had tougher time finding four losses on the schedule than I did 12 victories. It’s possible I’ve overrated this team, but I didn’t pick what I picked just to stir conversation. I really believe this team will be really, really good.