NinerBuff wrote:You could make the same argument for the 2011 Niners... we were 13-3 that year and won a bunch of close games... I see them winning 10 this year, as they regress slightly, but I still think ATL and NO make the playoffs.
Funny you mention that; I did
make that point about the 2011 49ers during that following offseason. I didn't mean it as an insult then, and I don't mean it as one now toward the Falcons, but I bring it up because it's a valid point of discussion. I think the Falcons will make the playoffs as well, but I would be absolutely floored - I mean that literally, my jaw will be on the ground, and everything - if the Falcons manage to get 13 wins again this year. In fact, if I could get 2-1 odds betting against that in Vegas, I would sell my car to make a huge bet. The Falcons only played THREE TEAMS that finished the year with winning records last year. THREE! The Broncos, Giants, and Foreskins. Every other opponent had a losing record except Dallas, which finished 8-8.
In 2013, however, their schedule is tougher. The Saints definitely won't be a losing team again. The Panthers may or may not be. They also have to play the 49ers and Packers on the road, they play the Seahawks in Atlanta, and they play the Rams, Patriots, and Redskins in Atlanta.
13-3-peat? Not on your life. They may still win the division, but they aren't getting 13 wins.
Also, the close calls last year for the Falcons in games they won, but barely: 30-28 over the Panthers, 23-20 over the Raiders, 24-23 over the Bucs, and the wins over the Broncos and Cowboys were both by 6 points. For a team that received (yes, received; not 'earned') the #1 playoff seed in the NFC, they sure weren't very dominant. The 2005 Seahawks that went 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl averaged 28.25 points per game, and that was with a run-based offense. Matt Ryan's passing offense with two elite receivers averaged 26.18 points per game last year, and played all of 3 opponents with winning records. Comparatively, in 2005, the Seahawks faced 5 opponents with winning records that year, including a win over the Colts who were 14-2 that year.
Anybody that wants to tell me how elite the Falcons are can listen to me fall asleep and start snoring, instead.