The Falcons can’t go 12-4? ‘Sure they can,’ says Mr. Sunshine

This one didn't go well. But it DIDN'T COUNT. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This one didn't go very well. Know what? IT DIDN'T COUNT. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

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.

184 comments Add your comment

James Stephenson

August 24th, 2010
8:27 am

mountain_jim

August 24th, 2010
8:28 am

Robb Dryden

August 24th, 2010
8:28 am

FALCONS GO 16-0! You called it Mark!!!

mountain_jim

August 24th, 2010
8:29 am

Mularkey better be hiding some good stuff for the season because his preseason offense and play-calling will not even get 10 wins done. Still waiting for Ryan to throw one past 15 yards.

Robb Dryden

August 24th, 2010
8:29 am

Im 7ft 3. Why havent the hawks called me?

jokurone

August 24th, 2010
8:29 am

i got em at 14-2

deezcoons

August 24th, 2010
8:32 am

this defense looks all to similar to last years

SimpleDawg

August 24th, 2010
8:40 am

Well you can wish in one hand, $#!+ in the other, and see which fills up first.

I’d really like to believe you’re right, but I’ve been watching the Falcons a long time…….

I hope you’re right.

Joey

August 24th, 2010
8:41 am

Mark, they don’t have anyone to keep opponents from double-covering Roddy. And, you aren’t concerned that the offensive play-calling is too conservative, which seems to be the big reason for the lack of TDs, last season and in the exibition gamaes to date?

uga_b

August 24th, 2010
8:44 am

I have them going 10-6ish. Mark, your problem is that whenever you go game by game it always seems to inflate all our predictions. Based on that, I have the dogs only losing one game. You have to expect the Falcons to lose a few favored games.

My parry: Kicker problems will reduce scoring in key games (at least one loss maybe 2). Offense sputters in red zone and hasn’t found a complementary target for Roddy (see above). Defense is going to be a rotation because a few spots haven’t been won outright: DE, WLB, SLB, SS, LC*. (*This one has depth so I think it’s more a competition)

Sid

August 24th, 2010
8:46 am

“I’m pretty sure Bill Belichick didn’t go home and plan a February parade after winning Thursday”

Dang, that was good!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

August 24th, 2010
8:46 am

8 – 8 is the best they do.

droopydawg

August 24th, 2010
8:46 am

Baltimore is going to be too good this year for the Falcons to win that game on the road. I say the Falcons go 11-5 or 10-6.

Sid

August 24th, 2010
8:47 am

I still say they leave Philadelphia with a “W”…………………!!!

SimpleDawg

August 24th, 2010
8:47 am

After re-reading why the Falcons will go 12 – 4…….

I may be the only guy worse than you at picking Falcon games……

They might just go 13 – 3……

…..or 9 – 7.

Sam

August 24th, 2010
8:47 am

Put your money where your mouth is!

Snate

August 24th, 2010
8:48 am

9 wins. Middle of the pack. We are just not that good…

Trey

August 24th, 2010
8:49 am

uh droopy the blatimore game is at home doofus.

Jethro

August 24th, 2010
8:50 am

12-4 is entirely reasonable. This is a good, disciplined team. I think discipline alone nabs 2 victories by itself. Nobody razzle dazzles in preseason. I hope the rest of the league scoffs at 12-4 too. It will make victory that much sweeter.

Nativebird

August 24th, 2010
8:54 am

I oh so much want you to be correct. but alas, this is my beloved Atlanta…at this stage in our illustrious franchise history we have truly earned that painfully down-hyped moniker that all Falcon fans truly dream of shedding: The “I must see it to believe it” team.

Dawg4life

August 24th, 2010
8:55 am

My concern is Roddy White. Everytime he has been thrown the ball, he drops it. If he is our #1 receiver, he needs to step up his game. Sure its preseason, but that is all the more reason he should be hauling the ball in.You play like you practice, and ever since he re-upped on his contract, he has been in steady decline.

Defense looks better, but there is still work to be done. All indications show that Kroy Biermann is poised to have a break out year. Why they have Ludacris listed as the starting DE opposite Abraham is beyond me… Gotta get people off the field on 3rd down though. The way Fred Taylor sliced them up, you would figure that Keith “Jump on Top of the Pile” Brooking was still out there.

Dominic Hughes

August 24th, 2010
8:55 am

Only one argument from me. The Falcons will beat the Eagles in Philly. I’m going to that game, and the Falcons never lose when I travel 9000 miles to watch them play. They’re 3-0 when I get over there from Australia, even managing a win for me in the wilderness of 2007 when I saw Joey Harrington lead them to their first win of the season against Houston.

Scott

August 24th, 2010
8:56 am

No way they go 12 – 4, after next season it will be evident that Matt Ryan cannot throw the deep ball and they will be back to looking for a QB. 7-9 maybe 9-7 is best bet for this team.

Dawg4life

August 24th, 2010
8:57 am

P.S- I heard Belichick issued rings to the team after the victory on Thursday…

jimmymack

August 24th, 2010
9:04 am

the falcon’s finally have management support,the coaches to suceed and the most talentsd roster since 1982.they should go 12-4.as usual mr.bradley is correct

john

August 24th, 2010
9:08 am

Droopy dog, the balt game is in atl

JASon

August 24th, 2010
9:10 am

Stick to your guns, Mark. We were right last year in saying 9-7, and we will be right again this year with 12-4.

Joey

August 24th, 2010
9:12 am

I agree Scott about the 12-4, but I don’t know if it is Ryan’s arm, or just the ultra-conservative playcalling. Ryan threw the ball downfield a good bit in his rookie season.

I’m all for a strong running game, but use that to go for homeruns, or at least 25-30 yards down the field, occasionally. They don’t even try! One-dimensional teams go nowhere in the playoffs.

reebok

August 24th, 2010
9:12 am

you are way overestimating this team. 10-6 will be a great year, 9-7 is likely.

Birdmandave

August 24th, 2010
9:17 am

Jethro said it, the more scoffs the sweeter victory!

PMC

August 24th, 2010
9:17 am

If you did overrate them though it’s only by maybe a game. Anything less than 12 wins would be disapointing. There are a lot of things that would have to go right, but virtually everything that could go wrong DID go wrong last year and they won 9 games. If they had a consistant kicking game last season they might have won 3 more games even with the problems. I still feel REALLY good about this year even if I don’t feel like they are an elite/Super Bowl team yet. I’m not overly concerned given the amount of little injuries that have kept players out in the preseason as well. Miami is the first game planned game but even then it’s going to be Vanilla. If I’m ready for Sept 12th I know the veterans have to be too.

trickworm

August 24th, 2010
9:22 am

I got some concerns too, mainly about players coming back from injury, Jerry and Moore, but, I’m LOL at those pointing at the offensive playcalling from a preseason game as an issue. And I’m LOL at those who say Ryan can’t throw deep.
This is this young teams’ third year in the same system. That’s when everything clicks. Barring bad injury luck like they had last year, I see 10-6 minimum.
Oh, and BTW, there was a tradition started last season by us fans at the falcons message board called the hickory stick award given to the best player of the game. This season, along with a framed digital print, there will be a Georgia hickory stick too which will be passed down from winner to winner.
We feel our coach is a “Speak softly and carry a big stick” kinda guy.
Beware the hickory stick.

suwaneefalcon

August 24th, 2010
9:22 am

I want to believe we can do 12-4 but, I am thinking 10-6 at best 11-4. I think we are one year away from the defense being a dominant force in the NFL.

PMC

August 24th, 2010
9:22 am

They should have something special ready for Philly just for the bootleg bushleague way they went about that game last year.

suwaneefalcon

August 24th, 2010
9:23 am

I meant 11-5 not 11-4. Public school math.

Sid

August 24th, 2010
9:25 am

The home schedule is no gimmee, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Green Bay. San Francisco and the Bengals won’t be like Another Park Another Sunday either. I expect them to win 6 road games. 6 @ home, 6 on the road………………..12-4, Mark you are a genius……….!!!

Dirty Bird 3

August 24th, 2010
9:26 am

Falcon fans got an opportunity to see the contrast in the running defense when Jamaal Anderson is not present. Yes, Bierman was great on the pass rush but was present while NE’s running backs ran effectively against the Falcons. Seems to me the best solution is to platoon Anderson and Bierman on the LDE while coaches play chess against the opposing offenses anticipating the run or the pass. Jamaal Anderson is definitely a four down player either at DE or DT. Now that Anderson is 290lbs+ he will maul the average TE and control the corner of the line of scrimmage. He is best described as a tall, fast& strong DT who can play DE against the run. Get a 250lb DE to race around the end on obvious passing downs.

steve

August 24th, 2010
9:29 am

Mark,
You have now jinked the falcons. I’m about ready to bet they don’t have a winning season.

Painful Truth!!!

August 24th, 2010
9:38 am

Mark…if you are that confident in the falcons I am willing to make a bet….$5000.00 to the charity of your choice if the Falcon go 12-4 or better vs. $5000.00 to the same for me….

Now mark you can access my e-mail address… if you are not just playing to Falcon fans, here is your chance to put up and do something nice for a needy cause.More that likely, you will sit on the sidelines and blow smoke….

Brent

August 24th, 2010
9:40 am

Be careful Mark, not too much sunshine. You know your track record. By the way, I agree.

PreyDawg

August 24th, 2010
9:47 am

The Defense will be good enough for us to go 12-4. The offense will not. We dont keep defenses honest by going downfield effectively. We dont have a deep threat after all this time. I hope Douglas becomes that, but he isnt that now.

Mularkey doesnt trust the line to protect Ryan. That is why he puts cuffs on Ryan and insists that he throw 15 yards or less and preferably to Gonzo 85% of the time. Roddy spends way to much time wrestling corners at the Line of Scrimmage instead of getting open. I had high hopes for Meier to help us. Now he is gone.

Our offense is an 8 win offense. Our D is a 12 win D. Our special teams is .500. I love the Falcons but we will be lucky to get a wild card. Now if the Offense opens it up, then I like Marks prediction. As it now stands, Turner will run into 8 man fronts all year long. Norwood will be hurt by the second half of game 1.

Playmakers!!

August 24th, 2010
9:47 am

Have you lost your mind??????? No way in H e LL they win 12 games!!!! Mark, the Falcons have ZERO WR’S after White. Todays NFL is all about the O…We need WR’S and we dont have them! 9 wins at most….

Mark Bradley

August 24th, 2010
9:48 am

Steve, I’ve jinxed a lot of teams. But I don’t believe I’ve jinked one.

Atlanta Native

August 24th, 2010
9:52 am

Bradley is a jinker!

hateful kate

August 24th, 2010
9:53 am

RobbE33

August 24th, 2010
9:55 am

As long as the Falcons remain hungry, committed, persistent, lucky and smart they’ll win twelve but I’m concerned that the same chinks that have plagued their amour for the past few years haven’t been resolved. I hope I’m wrong and they aren’t as fragile as they appear at pre-season’s first glance. What I want to see is the birds man-handling a quality opponent for sixty minutes; that would qualm my fears.

waynester

August 24th, 2010
9:57 am

Dominic Hughes
Here’s hoping you’re the lucky charm the Falcons need to start this season off right! Nice to know there’s a fanbase down under–good on ya!

Johnny Venters

August 24th, 2010
9:59 am

Thanks for jinxing me Mark. First loss of year after your most recent post season guaranty. Your first promise was the division championship, now it is post season, next you will guaranty a winning season. Thanks for nothing Mark.

Mike Jay

August 24th, 2010
10:01 am

These same Falcons Recievers were good enough to go 11-5 in 2008 and have added Tony G since then. Why would they not now be good enough to win 12 games??????? Unless you think the trading of laurent Robinson hurt so much?

Lee Smith

August 24th, 2010
10:02 am

I am a life long Falcons fan. I believe this team certainly has talent. However I do not believe they have the roster to win a championship. I certainly thought Arthur Blank would have been able to bring in a little more talent than he has. We need another wide out to compliment Roddy White. Our defense has holes and positions of uncertainty.

I think 10-6 is more realistic.