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In 2018 the Falcons are being heavily favored by the media to win the Super Bowl this year based off the way our seasons ended in 2016 and 2017, and we deserve that praise, however, that is VERY DANGEROUS at the professional level, most teams who win their first Super Bowls had a mediocre campaign the previous season and nobody believed in them coming into the season. The Falcons are getting way too much hype and it worries me. Throughout my time being a Falcons fan, our best seasons have always come when you didn't expect much from the team coming into the season, and they overachieved the expectations we had before the season went on. Look at the years we've won the division throughout our history and tell me what our records were the years before? What was the record of the 1997 Falcons and the 2015 Falcons before our Super Bowl appearances in 1998 and 2016? Why did the past 3 teams in the Super Bowl out of the NFC had a record of 8-8 or worse the previous year? Based off the preseason performances, the Panthers and Saints have shown better depth than the Falcons right now (2 teams who were 11-5 last season which were better than our Falcons). Here's all the teams 0-3 in the preseason so far. The Eagles, who just won the Super Bowl so that's understandable, and they were 6-10 in 2005 after their previous 13-3 campaign in 2004 losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots. The last time the Eagles started 0-3 in the preseason was 1999, and they were 5-11 that year. The Seahawks, who we all know have been on huge decline the last couple years and they might get worse as the Rams and 49ers become the class of the West the next few years. The Cowboys, because they are the Cowboys who are only good once in awhile. The Dolphins because that's who they usually are, always inconsistent. The Titans because they'll probably take a step back after miraculously making the playoffs as a wildcard last year at 9-7. Then of course, our Falcons. Notice how outside of the Falcons and Eagles, every other team who's 0-3 right now clearly has struggles. Bottom line, whether people want to deny this or not, teams in NFL history who have gone 2-2 or 3-1 in the preseason playing their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stringers for even amounts of time have a better chance of making the playoffs, getting to the conference championship, or getting to the Super Bowl than teams who have gone 0-4 in the preseason. No team who's gone 0-4 in the preseason has won the Super Bowl in a full 16 game season, and only 2 have been to the Super Bowl. You have the 1982 Redskins I get that, but that was a strikeout year with 6 less regular season games so that made the season chaotic. Keep in mind, the 1998 Falcons were 2-2 in the preseason while the 2016 Falcons were 3-1. I hear a lot of people saying those teams were 0-4 when that wasn't true, do your research. The preseason reveals your depth across the roster and your coaching. The Redskins and Giants' depth had no trouble beating the Jets depth, but the Falcons got shutout in New Jersey not having a single 1st down until the end of the 1st half and getting shutout. The Falcons offense did well against the Chiefs, however, the Chiefs had the 28th ranked defense last year and we still gave them their only preseason win so far in the 2nd half. The Jaguars defense was a good test for our offense and while it wasn't all on Matt Ryan, he still could have done a little bit better, and our STARTING receivers were still dropping balls and making mental errors just like last year. Our O-line is still okay but very vulnerable, can't afford any injuries whatsoever. Our D-line however, has clearly taken a step back, I saw the Jets running on us easily and so did the Jaguars with solid running backs such as Leonard Fournette. Deion Jones, Desmond Trufant, and Ricardo Allen being out shouldn't have made our D-line struggle like that. I think we should have kept at least one of Poe or Clayborn. So here's the story of the Falcons upcoming season to me, if our offense is still inept making the same mistakes as last season and our D-line takes a step back, we miss the playoffs this year. We aren't going to be as lucky as last season. Our defense carried us to the playoffs last season more than our offense unlike 2016. Don't think year 2 for Sarkisian is going to go exactly like year 2 for Shanahan, a lot of people are totally mistaken by this assumption. Shanahan in year 1 with LESS talent still had better play calling than Sark in year 1 with MORE talent, and even on the defensive side of the ball the 2017 Falcons were way better than the 2015 Falcons. I think our defense is still a year or 2 away. Get better at the interior and then we'll have veterans across our defensive roster by 2019 or 2020. The best defenses in Falcons history are 1977 and 1998, which is in a 21 year span, and 2019 is almost here, so we're getting there. A lot of people including myself have said that the Falcons have always been an even numbered season team, and I get that, but not every even year has been good for the Falcons. 2006 and 2014 weren't good, but in 2002 we did make the playoffs but we were 9-6-1. Since we've been in the NFC South, the even years we played a western division (AFC West and/or NFC West) we had double digit win seasons, usually 11 wins or 13 wins in seasons such as 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016. However, in 2002, 2006, and 2014, we didn't play a western division and we either missed the playoffs or barely made it. The Falcons do not play a western division in 2018. The Falcons are 0-3 in the preseason so far still having execution problems on offense, D-line issues, and finishing out games. The Super Bowl is in our home stadium this year and no team has ever done that, the teams who have hosted Super Bowls have always come up short or done really bad. Matt Ryan is the highest paid QB in the league, which means he's in the top of the salary of all QB's across the league, and last time I checked, highest paid QB's tend to not play well historically (including Matt Ryan in 2013). I hope Julio Jones holding out of practice all that time doesn't affect his play throughout the season. People are saying that our window is now or never, but I disagree, I believe we will still have a shot with Matt Ryan in 2019 or 2020, even if the 2018 Falcons don't do well. If having a disappointing or absolute bust season motivates us to win a Super Bowl over the next couple of years with the media doubting us, I'd rather take that. I see a lot of holes in this current Falcons team so far. Hope they prove me wrong throughout this upcoming season. I'm just ready for Thursday Night in Philly to begin.
https://imgur.com/a/zW8sILJ Click on the link up here and tell me what you think? I used the NFL Playoff Predictor on https://playoffpredictors.com I have the Falcons starting 2-3 and winning 10 straight to get to 12 wins, just like in 2002 and 2010 when we also had a long winning streak during the season playing the AFC North with the same home and away schedule as this upcoming season. As I've brought up before, our AFC North schedule matches 2010 and our NFC East schedule matches 2012. We also play the Eagles in Philly and the Cardinals at home again just like 2010, 2012, and 2016 when we won the division. I have the Saints starting 3-0 and losing 9 of their last 13 games to finish 7-9 again, because no NFC South team has ever repeated the division as champs with back to back winning records. I have the Panthers finishing 8-8 because they haven't had back to back winning seasons yet. The Buccaneers are in trouble without Jameis Winston the first 3 games. The NFC South will NOT put 3 teams in the playoffs again, it'll only be whoever wins the division again like most seasons. I have the Falcons losing in Philly and Pittsburgh again just like we did in 2010, but the Falcons still finish with a better record than both teams with the Eagles and Steelers winning their divisions at 11-5. With the Eagles winning the division again, I have all the other NFC East teams missing the playoffs again. The Giants will improve, but they won't be good enough. The Redskins are who they are, even with Alex Smith at QB I don't believe in them right now. I have the NFC West being the toughest and most exciting division in football this year with 3 teams making the playoffs. I believe the Seahawks prove doubters wrong and sneak in with Russell Wilson leading the offense with historical numbers, but they'll be a wildcard team though along with the Rams, and the 49ers are my dark horse NFC surprise of this season. Jimmy G made the 49ers legit late last season and he didn't lose a game backing up Tom Brady in 2016 either. I have the Packers starting 5-0 and missing the playoffs at 10-6 making Mike McCarthy fired from Green Bay, and the Vikings finish 10-6 too but win the head to head. The Raiders will be the surprise team of the AFC West with Jon Gruden as head coach again. The Chiefs still sneak in but have too many question marks with a young QB. The Chargers will still be the Chargers, and the Broncos despite having an upgrade at QB, won't be good enough to make the playoffs again. The AFC East still belongs to the Patriots, but their Super Bowl hangover will show when Deshaun Watson and the Texans go into New England and shock the world come playoff time. The Jaguars and Titans will get a hangover from last season, the Colts will improve with Andrew Luck healthy all year, but a fully healthy Texans team with Deshaun Watson starting will be too much for everyone in the AFC South to overcome. The Steelers are still the class of the AFC North as usual.