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Grantland's Barnwell Has The Falcons As A Team That Can Win The Super Bowl This Year


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I liked this. Here's a quote from the article:

"...I guess, at the end of the day, I just think it’s shortsighted to write off a team that was so good for so long after one bad year. I can’t really prove that, because there just aren’t many historical comparables for the Falcons. I tried looking back at teams since the merger that averaged1 11 or more wins per season over a four-year stretch before finishing with six wins or fewer during the next season. That fits the Falcons, who won 45 games (11.3 per year) from 2009 to 2012 before going 4-12 in 2013.

There are only nine other teams in that bucket since the merger. They averaged 8.9 wins in the season after their sudden collapse, and five of the nine won 10 games or more. It’s too small of a sample to prove anything, but it is fair to say teams have been on this roller coaster ride before and come out of it smiling. My suspicion is that the Falcons are one of those teams...."

Rest of it here:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nfl-season-predictions-teams-that-can-win-super-bowl/

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Love Barnwell and watching that GB/SEA suckfest gave the rest of the country the message that even with the best QB in the league, a tackle going down can change the complexion of the game and the season. Imagine if Jordy, Cobb and Eddie Lacy went down as well and there you have the Falcon's season.

GB went from running the ball and no pressure on AR to 3 and outs and a safety and it bled over to defense because the offense just ended up giving SEA too many possessions.

We will be loads better on both sides of the ball with our better line and our stable of capable backs and the addition of Hester as a Percy Harvin like X Factor!

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I liked this so well, falconidae, I just decided to cut & paste it all...

Finally, after thousands of words, dozens of articles, and 24 team capsules, we arrive at the eight teams that have the best chance of winning the Super Bowl. There aren’t many surprises in this group, which features several perennial contenders and just one team that had a losing record last year.

Seattle, rightly, is among the favorites to retain the title after a dominant win in last year’s Super Bowl. It’s probably the Super Bowl team with the best chance of repeating as champion since the 2011 Packers, who went 15-1 before falling in the playoffs against a lightly regarded Giants team. Seattle’s schedule might make that sort of otherworldly regular season too difficult to pull off, and it did lose a good amount of depth on defense this offseason, but it was also football’s third-youngest team last year. It’s scary to think the Seahawks might actually be better in 2014.

While it might have been blown out in the Super Bowl, Denver is actually a slight favorite to claim this year’s trophy. I probably don’t need to tell you that Denver’s offense is going to be pretty good, but those shortened odds also reflect the excellent offseason Denver had in terms of picking up three Pro Bowl–caliber defenders (DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward), as well as the friendly path the Broncos should have to Arizona by virtue of their presence in the friendlier confines of the AFC. Indeed, of the nine teams with the lowest Super Bowl odds on Bovada, six are teams from the NFC.

You can read more on the statistical methods used to estimate team performance in Tuesday’s column. If you’re not a regular reader in this space, that’s probably a good place to start. Unless you’re a Panthers fan, in which case you might want to start on Wednesday and live in bliss.

Atlanta Falcons

2013 Record: 4-12

Pythagorean Wins: 5.9 (underperformed by 1.9 wins, second-unluckiest team in NFL)

Record in Games Decided by Seven Points or Fewer: 3-7 (0.300, fifth-unluckiest)

2013 Strength of Schedule: 0.532 (fifth-toughest)

Estimated 2014 Strength of Schedule: 11th-toughest

Turnover Margin: minus-7 (ninth-worst)

2014 Out-of-Division Schedule: NFC North, AFC North, vs. Cardinals, at Giants

One of the teams you won’t see among the top nine Super Bowl odds is the Atlanta Falcons, whose turnaround chances I profiled way back on July 30. Of course, part of that return was predicated upon a healthier team with more depth on either side of the line, and that’s already disappearing. Left tackle Sam Baker tore his patellar tendon in August and will miss the entire season, while former first-round pick Peria Jerry retired from football just one day after my preview, leaving Atlanta thinner at defensive tackle.

It was enough to make me swap out the Falcons for New Orleans atop the NFC South, but I still think Atlanta has enough to power back into the playoffs. It should be luckier than it was in 2013 in terms of winning the close ones, especially given that it had been better than expected in close games for virtually all of Matt Ryan’s career up to last season. The schedule might not be easy, but Football Outsiders Almanac 2014 notes that the 2013 Atlanta offense played the seventh-toughest slate of opposing defenses of the past 25 years, which seems unlikely to occur again.

I guess, at the end of the day, I just think it’s shortsighted to write off a team that was so good for so long after one bad year. I can’t really prove that, because there just aren’t many historical comparables for the Falcons. I tried looking back at teams since the merger that averaged111 or more wins per season over a four-year stretch before finishing with six wins or fewer during the next season. That fits the Falcons, who won 45 games (11.3 per year) from 2009 to 2012 before going 4-12 in 2013.

There are only nine other teams in that bucket since the merger. They averaged 8.9 wins in the season after their sudden collapse, and five of the nine won 10 games or more. It’s too small of a sample to prove anything, but it is fair to say teams have been on this roller coaster ride before and come out of it smiling. My suspicion is that the Falcons are one of those teams.

Best-Case Scenario: The Falcons look a lot like the good version of the 2013 Chargers, with a dominant passing attack propping up a middling defense with no pass-rushers. The difference? Growth from second-year corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford leave Atlanta with that competent defense for the entire season, and not only does it win 11 games, but it convinces Tony Gonzalez to come out of retirement midseason to join up for one final playoff run.

Worst-Case Scenario: Ryan & Co. look like the bad version of the 2013 Chargers, with a good passing offense getting lost in the shuffle amid one of the worst defenses in football. Gonzalez changes his phone number and “forgets” to tell the Falcons, and when they see him unexpectedly at a party in November, it sure seems like he’s wearing a Chiefs T-shirt underneath his coat.

Edited by Quarterback
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Love Barnwell and watching that GB/SEA suckfest gave the rest of the country the message that even with the best QB in the league, a tackle going down can change the complexion of the game and the season. Imagine if Jordy, Cobb and Eddie Lacy went down as well and there you have the Falcon's season.

GB went from running the ball and no pressure on AR to 3 and outs and a safety and it bled over to defense because the offense just ended up giving SEA too many possessions.

We will be loads better on both sides of the ball with our better line and our stable of capable backs and the addition of Hester as a Percy Harvin like X Factor!

all that... and the reality is the Packer DL was MIA as well.

Media azzhats talking todsy how GB not that bad just SukHawks are soooooo good....

They're good but the Packers will be lucky to not finish last in their division IMO.

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"...but it convinces Tony Gonzalez to come out of retirement midseason to join up for one final playoff run."

This won't happen...and I'm glad it won't after that nonsense last summer giving him off most of training camp.

I thought this was a horrible decision at the time and set the tone for their "soft" reputation. The Raven's never let Ray Lewis take the summer off, did they? And Ray Lewis wouldn't ask for it, either!

Edited by Quarterback
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"...but it convinces Tony Gonzalez to come out of retirement midseason to join up for one final playoff run."

This won't happen...and I'm glad it won't after that nonsense last summer giving him off most of training camp.

I thought this was a horrible decision at the time and set the tone for their "soft" reputation. The Raven's never let Ray Lewis take the summer off, did they? And Ray Lewis wouldn't ask for it, either!

Why would he when he was all hopped up using Deer Antler Spray?

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Well, last year, before injuries, we were talked about as a Super Bowl possibility. Then injuries happened, and our lines were exposed. Well- we're still that team. Now our injured players are back- the important ones, anyway- and it appears we've greatly improved both lines. Baker's and Jerry's absences don't register with me.

If the Saints are that good, they could win the division, but we'll be right there at the end of the season. Worst I can picture is 10-6, barring an injury plague again.

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I liked this. Here's a quote from the article:

"...I guess, at the end of the day, I just think it’s shortsighted to write off a team that was so good for so long after one bad year. I can’t really prove that, because there just aren’t many historical comparables for the Falcons. I tried looking back at teams since the merger that averaged1 11 or more wins per season over a four-year stretch before finishing with six wins or fewer during the next season. That fits the Falcons, who won 45 games (11.3 per year) from 2009 to 2012 before going 4-12 in 2013.

There are only nine other teams in that bucket since the merger. They averaged 8.9 wins in the season after their sudden collapse, and five of the nine won 10 games or more. It’s too small of a sample to prove anything, but it is fair to say teams have been on this roller coaster ride before and come out of it smiling. My suspicion is that the Falcons are one of those teams...."

Rest of it here:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nfl-season-predictions-teams-that-can-win-super-bowl/

Really refreshing read. Nice seeing a sports writer take the previous 5 years and Injuries into account. A lot of them recently all seem ignorant to those facts.

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Barnwell always does his homework, but he's no homer for ATL. pretty sure he forecasted the 2011 beat down vs NYG in the playoffs.

I think the Falcons will be significantly better this season, but am worried the brutal schedule may make it hard to recognize. Only three games in the Dome in the first half of the season, road games vs GB and NO in the second half. 10-6 with this schedule could be 12-4 or better with an easier schedule.

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