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Falcons won't be as bad as you think per Mark Bradley

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Falcons won’t be as bad as you think

By Mark Bradley | Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 05:24 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Numerical estimations have ranged from bad (four guys at NFL.com say 3-13) to worse (Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated says 2-14) to just about the worst record possible (Sporting News says 1-15). I’m saying the Falcons will be better than that, and it will happen this way …

Detroit, Sept. 7: Michael Turner goes for 120 yards. Matt Ryan looks pretty good. Brian VanGorder’s defense, which was terrific in preseason, looks even better. Falcons 20, Lions 14.

At Tampa Bay, Sept. 14: Ryan has his welcome-to-the-NFL moment in a place where the Falcons have had their share of crummy moments. He’s 9-for-22 with three interceptions. Bucs 21, Falcons 10.

Kansas City, Sept. 21: Showing the desired resilience, Ryan throws two touchdown passes. Chiefs rookie Glenn Dorsey, whom many wanted instead of Ryan, tweaks a hamstring. Falcons 20, Chiefs 14.

At Carolina, Sept. 28: The Panthers are annually the NFL’s most overrated bunch — Julius Peppers had 2 1/2 sacks last season — but they’ll slip past the Falcons at home. Panthers 20, Falcons 13.

At Green Bay, Oct. 5: Michael Vick nearly won in his first trip to Lambeau Field and did win in his second. But Vick, as you’ve doubtless heard, is otherwise occupied. Packers 24, Falcons 14.

Chicago, Oct. 12: Even if some Falcons fans aren’t sold on Ryan, the Bears would take him in a heartbeat. The Chicago defense is still among the best, and it has to be. Bears 10, Falcons 9.

At Philadelphia, Oct. 26: Not getting any easier, is it? The Falcons get handled in Philly, prompting a gut-check session from Mike Smith, who nearly busts a gut in the process. Eagles 27, Falcons 13.

At Oakland, Nov. 2: Lo and behold, Smith’s men respond. The thoughtful DeAngelo Hall aids and abets his old team by being flagged three times on a pivotal drive. Hee, hee. Falcons 20, Raiders 17.

New Orleans, Nov. 9: The Falcons haven’t beaten the Saints since Sean Payton and Drew Brees and Reggie Bush arrived in New Orleans, and nothing changes here. Saints 27, Falcons 20.

Denver, Nov. 16: Remember when Mike Shanahan was the Mastermind? He might, but everyone else has almost forgotten. Chance for an upset gets flubbed at the end. Broncos 19, Falcons 17.

Carolina, Nov. 23: You’ve lost six of seven. You face the choice all struggling teams must confront. Do you pack it in or fight on? Here’s the encouraging answer. Falcons 23, Panthers 14.

At San Diego, Nov. 30: A fighting spirit is no match for an elite team. LaDanian Tomlinson outgains his former backup by 50 yards. An overmatched team suffers its worst loss. Chargers 34, Falcons 10.

At New Orleans, Dec. 7: You have to score big to beat the Saints in the Superdome, and the Falcons aren’t yet capable. But they might be by 2009, which by now is the focus. Saints 31, Falcons 16.

Tampa Bay, Dec. 14: The Falcons shake off two deflating weeks and give a stout effort. As has been the case most Sundays, the talent imbalance is too much to override. Bucs 16, Falcons 13.

At Minnesota, Dec. 21: The scene of the most famous victory in Falcons annals becomes the scene of just another defeat in a season that has featured a slew of them. Vikings 24, Falcons 14.

St. Louis, Dec. 28: But here’s one to grow on. Ryan has his best statistical day, showing he’s not just tough but talented, and his team, all things considered, finishes a fairly honorable 5-11. Falcons 30, Rams 17.

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In today's media forecasts of 0-16, 1-15? yes, he is.

5-11 is a reasonable prediction and one we can actually achieve without drastic miracles happening.

This guy is trying to win over Falcon's fans and yet not be to risky at the same time. Great writers don't come from safe articles, they are born with risky ones. Can't have it both ways Mr. Bradley.

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Oh, Bradley is the most CYA writer I know of. Normally, you couldn't get a firm commitment from him on whether at any given moment it's daylight or dark. You want to cover your bets, predicting the Falcons go 5-11 is fairly safe. It's not likely the Birds will this 2008 season do much better or much worst than that - certaintly not much worst.

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I still say 7-9....not 5-11

Im in there with ya, somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7. For some reason we won 4 last

year with little to no coaching (STRONGLY IMPROVED this year), little or no O-Line blocking

(STRONGLY IMPROVED this year), a QB who enjoys spending time on his butt (STRONGLY

IMPROVED this year), and a set of DB's that were so-so at best (STRONGLY IMPROVED

this year). The only set of guys that dont seem to have strongly improved are the D-Line,

and while we're all disappointed that they're not getting sacs, the aren't disasterous either.

With this, I dont see why anyone could say we'll win 4 or less this year. We dont have

Crumpler nor Hall, but let me tell you, I dont recall any of those games where those two

won it. I actually recall one where Hall gave it away...

Basically, give or take a turnover, we're a break even team, significantly improved.

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i have bets that the birds go 6-10, doubling each game they go in either direction... i NEED us to atleast go 6-10 haha. i think its very reasonable to go 6-10. chicago has kyle orton starting that should be an easy game for us, their defense is not as good as it was in the past. i think we actually do take down denver, and i think we beat tampa and carolina in the dome. the loss of kris jenkins is a bigger deal than people think. they lost kris jenkins and mike rucker last year and are now starting JP on an end he hasnt played on in 5 years with no other threats on the line, i think we have a chance to sweep carolina.

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