Well Dave the Falconer asked for predictions of the upcoming schedule, so here it goes. In the interest of full disclosure, I made a prediction at the beginning of the season in my article "This I Believe," where I thought I was being generous in predicting 6 wins for the Falcons. I hope that prediction does not come true since that would mean the Falcons went on a 7 game losing streak. So I guess this would be a more revised prediction.
Falcons v. Broncos
Didn't we just play this team last week? Horrible defense, great passing offense, abandons the run at the drop of the hat. What's that? That was the Saints? Oh... well I'm still going to predict the same result. Falcons win in a shootout where the secondary makes just enough plays, and Turner milks the clock with his ginormous thighs.
Falcons v. Panthers
I think this game will come down run defenses. The Panthers have a pretty good one, and Peppers seems to be coming on (3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last week). The Falcons have a good one as well, but only when Grady "Fat" Jackson plays. I'm thinking that Grady will play and the Falcons will win by a field goal. Delhomme will march the Panthers down the field with time running out, but he will either be intercepted or a pass will be defensed on fourth down to preserve the win.
Falcons at Chargers
I'm still not ready to believe that Tomlinson has fully fallen off the cliff yet. Maybe I'm just in denial. Plus by this time Ron Rivera (the new d-coordinator) will have had several weeks to get his mitts around the Chargers defense, which still has plenty of talented players. The Chargers, desperately trying to salvage their season will win by 10 points.
Falcons at New Orleans
The Saints, also trying to salvage their season of broken dreams, will be playing their hearts out. Reggie Bush, back from his injury, and Marques Colston, who looked rusty last week, will further aid Drew Brees in his quest to try and save the Saints. Unfortunately there is no one coming to aid the New Orleans defense, and Turner's titanic thighs will keep the ball out of Brees' hands. Therefore, the Falcons win running away... literally.
Falcons v. Tampa Bay
The Falcons first home loss will come to the hated Buccaneers. Honestly, now that the NFC South has been together for 6 or so seasons, I have a natural disdain for the other three teams in our division. I think that's what the head offices were going for, and it worked well in the NFC South.
Falcons at Minnesota
I don't know why, but I just can not respect the Vikings this season. I love Peterson, I love the Williams in the middle, and Jared Allen is good (don't love him though), but I just can't take them seriously with such a mess under center. Their run D scares me since Turner seems to vanish against these teams. However, I believe this game will come down to who turns the ball over the least, and I think it's a safe bet that Ryan will protect the ball better than Frerotte. Therefore, Falcons win by a field goal.
Falcons v. St. Louis
The Rams are awful. We're at home. Falcons win.
That will leave the Falcons at 11-5. And I think there is a possibility of a three way tie at the top of the NFC South. The Panthers have a tough schedule over their last 7, and I could easily see them dropping 3 games. The Bucs have a much easier schedule than the Falcons or the Panthers, but I don't think they are as good. Therefore I'm predicting a three-way tie for first in the NFC South. Wouldn't that be fun?