What are the first thoughts that come to your head when you hear about a team that started 5-0 then went 1-3 in the month leading up to their bye week? Maybe that they had significant injuries occur, perhaps at the quarterback position, that have paralyzed the team’s offense. Maybe that the schedule shifted from a soft start to a difficult run and they’re just taking their lumps in due time.
Well, what if I told you their pre-bye loss came at the hands of Blaine Gabbert and a team that seems like a surefire top 5 pick in the 2016 draft?
Well, now that you’re adequately confused, let me just lay this out for you: the 2015 Atlanta Falcons are, quite simply, pretenders. They’re WAYYYYYYYYYYY overstated 6-3 record is, in fact, a result of weak scheduling and avoiding injury issues. As the NFC South bottom-dwellers from 2014, they pulled a cush af schedule that is tailor-made for any respectable team with Julio Jones and Matt Ryan to snag 10 wins. Seriously, their to-date schedule includes teams that are nobodies (SF, TB, NO) and teams that aren’t even anybody (TEN, HOU). They could go honestly stumble into the post season and that would make for just an abomination of a playoff game.
The Falcons epitomize the 2015 NFL season in that they are an absolute conundrum. The ATL job was highlighted as one of the best open positions in 2015 and was filled by former Seattle DC Dan Quinn. And, while Atlanta’s offense is #2 in total yards this season, Quinn unfortunately learned a thing or two about offensive playcalling from his former counterpart, Seattle’ Darrell Bevell (who is an idiot). As you no doubt heard, Quinn’s decision to kick a late field goal near the goal line against SF last week was pretty much the nail in the Falcon’s coffin.
They’ve held on to beat some teams that are probably better than them (Giants by 4, Eagles by 2) and two of their three losses are by a field goal or less. But the unfortunate truth is, this is not the season to be playing down to your competition (beating TEN 10-7) because the 2015 NFL fucking suuuuuuuuuuucks.
Look, I’m not gonna sit here and act like I care about the Falcons. They’re not-first in a division that, even if it happens, has no business putting in a wild card team this season. Like 50+% of the league right now, they’re just playing for the paycheck and, if they win on a given week, the opportunity to hurt their front office’s chances of drafting a young cheap stud out of college who will be taking any non-Julio Jones’ job next season.
So, in conclusion, the Falcons are bad, the NFC South is bad, and having to devote 15 minutes to talking about the Falcons was bad. Their schedule gets a little more challenging after the break (two games vs CAR, MIN, and the may-be-learning-football CLOTS). I’d never bet on their games unless the line were enormous. And I think they may have the best throwback uniforms in football.
Here’s hoping the Panthers don’t fall apart and hand the division to ATL because that would be very embarrassing for me.