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Article on Falcons' strength of schedule


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From the Falcons official site written by Will McFadden,

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - There are abundantly more questions than answers for NFL teams and fans at this point in the year, but we do have at least an idea of what lies ahead for the Falcons in 2018.

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Although the 2018 schedule for each NFL team has yet to be released, the opponents that each team must face next season are already known.

Because we know who each team will play in 2018, we are able to determine the strength of schedule for every NFL club - it's as simple as determining the combined 2017 win percentage of the teams on the 2018 schedule. We won't include the full list in this piece, but John Breech of CBSSports.com has the full breakdown for those who are interested.

For the second season in a row, the Falcons will have the 13th-toughest schedule in the NFL. The teams on Atlanta's 2018 schedule combined to have a 130-126 record last season, equating to a combined win percentage of .509.

Despite falling in the upper half of the league for strength of schedule, the Falcons have the easiest schedule of all the NFC South teams. Here is a breakdown of where each team in the division ranks in strength of schedule and their opponents' combined 2017 win percentage:


> T-2: Saints (.535)
> 4: Buccaneers (.531)
> 12: Panthers (.512)
> 13: Falcons (.509)
 

In 2017, the Falcons were once again slotted into the 13th-hardest schedule, but their opponents' combined win percentage was a bit higher at .521. Playing through that schedule, the Falcons ended with a 10-6 record and earned the second wild card spot in the playoffs.

During their run to the Super Bowl in 2016, the Falcons faced what was deemed to be the NFL's toughest schedule entering the season. With teams like the Broncos, Seahawks and Panthers on the schedule, the Falcons faced a group that combined for a win percentage of .555 the year prior, tying them with the 49ers atop the list.

Of course, that 2016 season provides a good example of how much things change once the season actually begins. Strength of schedule can provide a big-picture look for fans and make for some lively debate, but the NFL is a league of parity and every new season yields new challenges.

http://mobile.atlantafalcons.com/news/article-1/How-the-Falcons-strength-of-schedule-in-2018-compares-to-previous-seasons/a553cf7e-676c-4e1c-b5e9-c1e2fdb29657

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2 hours ago, TheUsualStuff said:

Meh...

The league changes too much from year to year to guage a whole heck of a lot from last years winning percentage. The schedule is whatever it is and it doesn’t matter. Playoff caliber teams will make the playoffs and everyone else will not.

Pretty much this, NFC changes too much.

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All I know is we're in a division that sent THREE....THREE teams to the playoffs, so that alone makes for pretty tough competition, to say nothing of going to places like Pittsburgh and Green Bay. 

I get using the records to rank things like this, but just from an eye-test perspective, 13th toughest seems a bit off. 

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15 minutes ago, octoslash said:

All I know is we're in a division that sent THREE....THREE teams to the playoffs, so that alone makes for pretty tough competition, to say nothing of going to places like Pittsburgh and Green Bay

I get using the records to rank things like this, but just from an eye-test perspective, 13th toughest seems a bit off. 

and don't forget Philly either, the Falcons are 1-9 in Philly since 2000. Our only win down there in that stretch, 2012 which was Mike Smith's best team vs Andy Reid's worst team before he got fired from the Eagles. The Eagles have the best home record in the NFC through the past 2 seasons. The Falcons have never won in Pittsburgh either, but they tied there in 2002.  Matt Ryan is always off when he plays in his hometown or his home state. 

and we can't count out the Buccaneers either, yes they haven't made the playoff since 2007, but since Jameis Winston has been around it's obvious that they've been a more competitive team. They went 9-7 in 2016 and beat some pretty good teams, but they missed the playoffs behind a Lions team who was also 9-7 because of common opponents, and in 2017 they lost a lot of close games with tons of injuries and finished 5-11. It's only a matter of time before Jameis Winston will break through and finally make the playoffs, so the NFC South is the toughest QB division in football which means it's any given year for anybody. Historically teams who are favored to win the division don't win it, and a lot of underdogs go from worst (or mediocre) to first. 

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1 hour ago, FalconOdense said:

We are playing Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers. Our third place is really **** this way... The record of Green Bay will change, so I really think this SOS is overrated.
 

yeah because the last 3 times we played them, we ran into a 'buzzsaw'........

 

oh wait, that's what they said about us, never mind

 

:tiphat:

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I believe the 2018 Falcons schedule tones down a little bit from 2017 and 2016. Should the 2018 schedule be any tougher than our past 2 brutal schedules, no? Is it still tough, yes. But look guys, we all remember coming into 2016 we had the toughest schedule in the league based off the 2015 results, and we had tough west coast games in Oakland, Denver, and Seattle. All of those teams we played had winning records including a 12-4 Raiders team who broke their playoff drought. Then we had to go back home and play the Chargers and Packers coming off extra rest (the Seahawks had a full bye before us too). Then we played the Buccaneers on the road on Thursday Night, AND we had to go to Philly which is a brutal place to play. That 2016 schedule was brutal. Then in 2017 the NFC South gets much tougher with the Panthers and Saints going 11-5 who were one game better than us, because they took care of business against the AFC East unlike us. We also played a 13-3 Vikings team at home and a 13-3 Patriots team in New England. But wait, it gets even tougher. We opened the season with a tough road win in Chicago which was a place we hadn't won at since 1983. We barely escaped Detroit thanks to Brian Poole. We had to play Seattle on Monday Night and we snapped their 11 game winning streak, and we had to play a DIVISION RIVAL on the road on Monday Night. So we had THREE primetime road games the past season. After playing the Rams in LA for the wildcard and losing to the eventually SB champs Eagles in Philly, the Falcons closed out the NFL season with the toughest strength of schedule overall.

 

So I wouldn't exaggerate about the 2018 schedule being as tough or tougher than the past 2 years. We play the AFC North and the NFC East, and we swept the NFC East in 2012 and 2015 (although I don't think that happens in 2018 because of the Eagles in Philly). However, this could easily be a disaster. We were swept by the AFC North in 2014. We've never won in Pittsburgh. We are 3-11 against Cleveland in the series cause for some reason the Browns always catch us in their best years. Mark my word, if the Falcons lose to the Browns, don't be surprised, that would equal to the Chargers or the Dolphins debacles. Here's the most mind blowing stat of these all, the Falcons are 1-9 at home against the AFC since 2013. The 2015 game against the Texans is our only AFC home win in that stretch, which makes the Ravens and Bengals not 100% guaranteed wins. So add the fact that we draw the Packers in Green Bay, have to go to Philly, and play in our own tough division. 2018 could either be really special for the Falcons or really awful. Our AFC North seasons like 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 have either been really good or really bad, just like 2018 is going to be. 

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9 minutes ago, papachaz said:

yeah because the last 3 times we played them, we ran into a 'buzzsaw'........

 

oh wait, that's what they said about us, never mind

 

:tiphat:

and all those 3 times we played the Packers we were at home. Just like the last 2 times we played the Eagles we had to go to their house in Philly which we're doing again in 2018. 

Edited by mqg96
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19 minutes ago, mqg96 said:

and all those 3 times we played the Packers we were at home. Just like the last 2 times we played the Eagles we had to go to their house in Philly which we're doing again in 2018. 

but but but GODGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt has a winning record against GB in his time here. Everyone remembers the year we lost to them twice when they went to the superbowl, and buys into the 'godgers is the best EVAHHHHHHHHHH' crap when in fact our losses were more on us than on them. Even when we played them 'there' and godgers hasn't done much at all the last few years period. over rated in the dictionary should have his picture in the definition somewhere

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1 hour ago, papachaz said:

but but but GODGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt has a winning record against GB in his time here. Everyone remembers the year we lost to them twice when they went to the superbowl, and buys into the 'godgers is the best EVAHHHHHHHHHH' crap when in fact our losses were more on us than on them. Even when we played them 'there' and godgers hasn't done much at all the last few years period. over rated in the dictionary should have his picture in the definition somewhere

We split with them in their SB year. Falcons beat GB in regular season of 2010 before losing in playoffs. 

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2 hours ago, TheUsualStuff said:

Our last losses to GB on the road were in 2014 when we were a 6-10 team. We scored 37 and lost by 6.

Prior to that was our 4-12, 2013 season we when lost to them by 1 point.

I doubt we will bring that caliber of team to the dance this time.

Well in 2013 Aaron Rodgers had a collarbone injury and we gave Matt Flynn his first win as a starting backup QB, so that doesn't really count. I'm with you on the 2014 game though. The Packers led that game by a lot of points though and Julio Jones had a career high (before the 2016 game against the Panthers). Our other 2 losses to the Packers was in the 2010-11 divisional round blowout when they won the Super Bowl, and in 2011 when they went 15-1 (and the Falcons were a mediocre 10-6 team that year too). It's no telling how the 2018 Falcons will go. This could either be a really special season or a really awful season. 

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5 hours ago, FalconOdense said:

We are playing Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers. Our third place is really **** this way... The record of Green Bay will change, so I really think this SOS is overrated.
 

Not to mention we are playing the Browns who are going to be much, much better.  They are finally getting it together I think.  Probably only going to win 5 or 6 games, but that was a lot better than last year.

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21 minutes ago, schwarzenegger321 said:

Not to mention we are playing the Browns who are going to be much, much better.  They are finally getting it together I think.  Probably only going to win 5 or 6 games, but that was a lot better than last year.

I hate it with a burning passion that the Falcons have to play the Browns when they are at their BEST! Such as 2002 when they went 10-6, the last time they made the playoffs or 2014 when they beat us in their 7-2 start before Alex Mack got injured (he was with the Browns then) and they lost out to finish 7-9. That's the main reason why the Falcons are 3-11 against the Browns in the series. If we had played the Browns in 2011-2013 or 2015-present we'd beat them.

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way way way too early. 

But given that our 2017 schedule was the 4th most difficult in the league, it'll probably be easier in 2018. 

Current DVOA rankings for each 2018 opponent:

CARx2 -  9th
TBx2 - 23rd
NOx2 - 1st
CIN - 24th
AZ - 22nd
DAL - 13th
NYG - 30th
BAL - 7th
CLE - 32nd
PHI - 5th
GB - 17th
WAS - 16th
PIT - 3rd

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7 hours ago, mqg96 said:

and don't forget Philly either, the Falcons are 1-9 in Philly since 2000. Our only win down there in that stretch, 2012 which was Mike Smith's best team vs Andy Reid's worst team before he got fired from the Eagles. The Eagles have the best home record in the NFC through the past 2 seasons. The Falcons have never won in Pittsburgh either, but they tied there in 2002.  Matt Ryan is always off when he plays in his hometown or his home state. 

and we can't count out the Buccaneers either, yes they haven't made the playoff since 2007, but since Jameis Winston has been around it's obvious that they've been a more competitive team. They went 9-7 in 2016 and beat some pretty good teams, but they missed the playoffs behind a Lions team who was also 9-7 because of common opponents, and in 2017 they lost a lot of close games with tons of injuries and finished 5-11. It's only a matter of time before Jameis Winston will break through and finally make the playoffs, so the NFC South is the toughest QB division in football which means it's any given year for anybody. Historically teams who are favored to win the division don't win it, and a lot of underdogs go from worst (or mediocre) to first. 

Yes, I forgot all about going to Philly.  I must have mentally blocked it because I'm well aware that we suck up there.

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8 hours ago, papachaz said:

but but but GODGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt has a winning record against GB in his time here. Everyone remembers the year we lost to them twice when they went to the superbowl, and buys into the 'godgers is the best EVAHHHHHHHHHH' crap when in fact our losses were more on us than on them. Even when we played them 'there' and godgers hasn't done much at all the last few years period. over rated in the dictionary should have his picture in the definition somewhere

We beat them in the regular season that year.

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4 hours ago, mqg96 said:

I hate it with a burning passion that the Falcons have to play the Browns when they are at their BEST! Such as 2002 when they went 10-6, the last time they made the playoffs or 2014 when they beat us in their 7-2 start before Alex Mack got injured (he was with the Browns then) and they lost out to finish 7-9. That's the main reason why the Falcons are 3-11 against the Browns in the series. If we had played the Browns in 2011-2013 or 2015-present we'd beat them.

If I recall we were driving for the winning score in 2002 when we found we had made the playoffs and called off the dogs.

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5 hours ago, papachaz said:

ahh, you and another have pointed that out to me, I had seriously forgotten that we beat them the regular season game. thank you and 007 for correcting my error :tiphat:

No worries bro. Yeah we beat em in the regular season that year. Seems like I remember Lofton making a key FF at the goal line that changed the game.

Smitty tried to go into the Division round with the same game plan. McCarthy changed his up big time and we had no answer. One of the most embarrassing nights in franchise history.

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@FalconFanSince1970

 

Yeah, the Falcons had already clinched a playoff spot while the Browns had a playoff spot on the line. I can't believe that the last time the Browns made the playoffs they had to beat OUR FALCONS, sounds similar to all of the teams winning Super Bowls by beating the Falcons in the playoffs lately? Oh, and in 2014 when the Browns beat us, that was the last time they were relevant, since then they've only won 2 games. So both times the Browns have beaten our Falcons it was the last time they accomplished something major. You know, something about Atlanta and Cleveland beating each other up right? 

Image result for falcons vs browns 2002

 

 

Edited by mqg96
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