NFC South regular-season predictions: Atlanta Falcons
- Updated: July 22, 2013
Your breathless anticipation has been mounting for days, and at last you receiver satisfaction as we conclude this series foretelling the outcome of every regular-season game for all four NFC South teams.
Previously, I have demonstrated my evenhanded prognosticatory predilections with the Carolina Panthers, my fair and balanced overage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and my equitable augury of the New Orleans Saints. Now I don my soothsayer’s cap and peer into the future of the Atlanta Falcons. Can they escape their miserable “Failcon” playoff reputation in 2013?
Week 1: @ New Orleans Saints
It’s always tough for a team to open its season against its biggest rival, particularly when it’s lead by a quarterback of Drew Brees’ caliber. The rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford see see a lot of playing time, but their task is made all the tougher by playing in the Superdome.
Final score: Falcons 34, Saints 38
Week 2: vs. St. Louis Rams
The Rams don’t have much going for them. Rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin won’t be effective so soon, and their three running backs have yet to prove themselves. Matty Ice puts this one away early.
Final score: Falcons 31, Rams 13
Week 3: @ Miami Dolphins
Atlanta must travel against a team on the rise. Matched up against wide receiver Mike Wallace, Trufant will have a chance to show what he can do.
Final score: Falcons 27, Miami 17
Week 4: vs. New England Patriots
Quarterback Tom Brady come to town with everything at his disposal but an offense. He usually lights it up in Atlanta, and he still may, but this time, he’s going to end up with the lower number as Matt Ryan beats Brady in a quarterback dual.
Final score: Falcons 27, Patriots 24
Week 5: vs. New York Jets
Quarterback Mark Sanchez — or will it be rookie Geno Smith? — finds his way into Atlanta, but he’ll be wanting to leave again after the first quarter.
Final score: Falcons 38, Jets 13
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cornerback Darrelle Revis will have a tough day. If wide receiver Julio Jones lines up on his side, he’s going to get burned once for a big score. If he doesn’t, it’s not like Roddy White is a slouch. Revis can only do so much to slow down the Falcons’ high-flying offense.
Final score: Falcons 27, Bucs 17
Week 8: @ Arizona Cardinals
Again, cornerback Patrick Peterson can only stanch the bleeding against White and Jones. On the other hand, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a field day against the Atlanta defense.
Final score: Falcons 24, Cardinals 21
Week 9: @ Carolina Panthers
Quarterback Cam Newton is the first running quarterback Atlanta’s defensive backs face, and they have a tough time on the extended plays. Carolina’s run game excels here, while Atlanta running back Steven Jackson wears down a tired front seven in the second half half to take a fourth-quarter lead. Newton takes a step forward and leads his team to a last-minute score.
Final score: Falcons 31, Panthers 34
Week 10: vs. Seattle Seahawks
Cornerback Richard Sherman and Roddy White are all over the headlines, sniping incessantly at each other in the lead up to this game. Result? Sherman gets beat again just like last year — and yet again, he blames blown coverage over the top. Steven Jackson shows his true worth. This time, Matty Ice doesn’t have to march down the field to set up kicker Matt Bryant for a game-winning field goal.
Final score: Falcons 34, Seahawks 24
Week 11: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Running back Doug Martin is nearly impossible to stop. With quarterback Josh Freeman playing for his contract and in need of some big wins, this turns into a shootout.
Final score: Falcons 31, Bucs 34
Week 12: vs. New Orleans Saints
Trufant and Alford are showing considerable improvement after facing so many good wide receiver. Rob Ryan’s defense is much improved for New Orleans, but the two youngsters have made greater strides — and they’re playing in the Georgia Dome, where Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith have been hard to beat. Tight end Tony Gonzalez comes up big in the last home game he will play against his rivals. The place rocks as Falcons fans get loud and raucous.
Final score: Falcons 31, Saints 27
Week 13: @ Buffalo Bills
The defense is hard pressed to contain running back C.J. Spiller, but Buffalo can’t keep up with the Falcons’ high-powered offense.
Final score: Falcons 27, Bills 17
Week 14: @ Green Bay Packers
This is the toughest game the Falcons play. Last time quarterback Aaron Rodgers came to Atlanta, he lit up the defense on his way to a Super Bowl victory. Well, not much has changed on defense. This is Matt Ryan’s chance to duel the best quarterback in the league. Too bad the game’s at Lambeau Field.
Final score: Falcons 31, Packers 34
Week 15: vs. Washington Redskins
Quarterback Robert Griffin III invades Atlanta for the first time. Last time he faced the Falcons, outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon knocked him out of the game. This is a tightly contested game until the fourth quarter, when Steven Jackson seals the victory late.
Final score: Falcons 27, Redskins 20
Week 16: @ San Francisco 49ers
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is back to full health and, paired with Anquan Boldin, makes it tough on the young defensive backs. By this point, though, running back Frank Gore is worn out from the number of carries he has been fed in the absence of Crabtree. San Francisco keeps it close, but Atlanta looks great when Jackson exacts revenge upon the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Final score: Falcons 20, 49ers 17
Week 17: vs. Carolina Panthers
With nothing clinched at this point, the Falcons are playing for playoff seeding and cannot afford to ease up. Matt Ryan connects with Julio often for a huge season finale.
Final score: Falcons 34, Panthers 24
Season record: 12-4
The Atlanta Falcons become the first team to win the NFC South division title two consecutive years.
If things pan out as we have predicted in this four part series, the NFC South becomes the first team to have all four teams finish with winning records. That might seem like a bit of a stretch, but it’s almost been done before.
This coming season promises to be a great year for the NFC South with a lot of close games. The division crown won’t be decided until the last leg of the campaign.
GREETINGS WATERCOOLER BLOGGERS ........ love it when a fan of a team writes articles on the season predictions for his/her team ...
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