Ryan thinks the 2013 Atlanta Falcons are going to pretty much suck in 2013. Bradley, as much as he hates Atlanta, sadly thinks they’re still going to be annoyingly good. You can give your opinion in the comments below.
The 2013 Atlanta Falcons Will Suck
It has to happen sooner or later. This incredibly tight core will have to, at some point, lose some regular season games. Did you realize that Matt Ryan’s career record in close games (7 points or less) is the second best quarterback record ever? Behind Tom Brady? That’s simply not sustainable.
No one is arguing that Matt Ryan is bad, but he’s not one of the ten best, and at some point his luck has to regress to the mean. And let’s be honest, winning close games isn’t nearly as much on the quarterback as we pretend. It’s a whole team effort, led by a coach. Tom Brady has Bill Belichick. Mike Smith is definitely not in that league.
Atlanta plays far too many close games. They keep betting on hard six and eventually, eventually, they’re going to miss. I think that’s this year. I’ll go on record and predict their winning percentage in close games plummets to .375 or worse (so something like 3-5).
The Falcons also have a tough schedule and play in what could shape up to be a rough division. Their defense is going to have huge, rookie-shaped holes in the secondary, which wouldn’t be an issue if Osi Umenyiora was about three years younger. But here he is, at 31. With a drop in their pass rushing production, a holey secondary, and an overrated offense.
The result is going to be a break in their streak of winning seasons. 7-9 for the Dirty Birds this year. It’s going to happen.
The 2013 Atlanta Falcons Won’t Suck
Look, I hate Atlanta as much as anyone. I hate the Falcons so much that I get angry when I read national articles about the Saints/Falcons rivalry that refer to it as a “new” rivalry, because that does a disservice to the hate for Atlanta I felt when I was like eight.
But my hate for the Falcons doesn’t blind me to the fact that any hope we have of them just up and sucking this year is misguided. They’re still a good, if occasionally overrated, team that simply does too many things well to fall apart. They really are a kind of Saints little brother, mimicking us at positions across the board in an attempt to be awesome.
They have a not-as-good-as-Drew Brees quarterback and a too-old-to-be-as-good-as-Jimmy Graham tight end. They have a third down back who isn’t as good as Darren Sproles and decent guards who aren’t as good as Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs. Their coach is good, too–he’s just not as good as Sean Payton.
And so that’s why the Falcons keep winning lots of regular season games, but always struggle with the Saints, the prototype they’ve been copying: You can’t really beat a vibrantly colorful original when all you’re just a black and white version from an office copier.1
But that said, black and white office copies get the job done, and the Falcons, a solid team from top to bottom, will have a double-digit win total this season.