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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gazing Into My Crystal Balls

We're 6-4* today

I've been busy with some other things going on in real life so D has been kind enough to do most of the posting lately. I got the message that "Dave the Falconer" was seeking our predictions and I had every intention of writing this up before the Broncos game. I really thought we should have and could have won that game and would have predicted so. Looking back it seems like the major problem was that our line wasn't able to make many holes against the Broncos front and the left side in particular behind aging Todd Weiner and already aged Wayne Gandy was subpar. Ryan was pressured more by the Broncos d-line and while I'd like to give them credit, I still credit our poor play more than I can credite excessive skill on their part. So what does the rest of the season hold for us?

vs. Carolina: WIN
Here's why: Despite the poor play of the line last week, we are a better team on the road. In some ways, Ryan facing some heat and making a few bad decisions is a good thing. You develop in any sport by playing against better competitors and learning from mistakes. Last time Ryan had a bad game he followed it up with a great game. Granted Carolina won't play like Kansas City, but the teams always have a little more juice for a division rival. Factor in the home crowd, the close margin last time (the game wasn't out of hand til late), and Ryan's development and I think we can squeak out a win on Elam's leg.

at San Diego: WIN
Here's Why: A lot of people seem to think we'll lose this game. I don't get it. As a disgruntled owner of LT, I can tell you he isn't the same this year. It hasn't mattered which defense he has been going against, he's been pretty terrible. This will be the first game in a while where the opposing team doesn't have a WR that we have to worry about. Against the Chargers, I'm comfortable with our corners man to man. San Diego's defense isn't what it was with Merriman and the Falcons will follow the Oakland game plan of getting out to a decent lead and letting the other team try to claw back. This just in: Norv Turner isn't a good coach.

at New Orleans: WIN
Here's Why: We demolished them at home. Their defense is terrible, their offense is falling apart and their players are starting to blame one another. Part of our "home field advantage" is that the surface we play on is much different than grass. It'll FEEL like a home game on the field in New Orleans as their crowds aren't as loud as they were the last few years (that'll happen when you are mediocre) and we're accustomed to the "fast surface".

vs. Tampa Bay: WIN
Here's Why: Bad QB with a running game either missing players or with players coming off of injury on the road and no playmakers on the outside to stretch the field. That sounds like a recipe for a low scoring game. This will shape up to be one of those 13-7 affairs and I think the Falcons have more playmakers and a more consistent kicker. These games come down to a big play or two and a clutch kick a lot of times and I think we have both.

at Minnesota: LOSS
Here's Why: Because you can't win them all. The homer in me wanted to pick us to win this game and run the table but that's not likely to happen. This team reminds me a lot of a better version of Tampa. A mediocre QB with a great defense around him. The difference is that Minny has a playmaker and is at home. Adrian Peterson will likely control the clock for the Vikes in front of an always raucous crowd.

vs. St. Louis: WIN
Here's Why: Let me get this straight: needing a big win to stay in the playoff picture we get one of the worst teams in the league the last game of the year? You don't get to automatically put one in the win column in the NFL but this is about as close as you can get. Rams' players will be playing to finish out the season and not get hurt, coaches will have checked out knowing their fate is already sealed for the next year. And the Falcons are at home with a QB who is learning visibly every game with the playoffs on the line! We'll be up big by half and cruise on home.
That puts the Falcons at 11-5 and 4-2 in the division. The division title could turn into a mess as each team has 3 games remaining and anything can happen. Regardless, at worst we finish the season with a .500 record and a legion of suddenly mute pundits eating crow on the Ryan pick. At best, I'm right and we make the playoffs. I'm not sure how they will shake out but if we can get Arizona or an NFC North team, I'd be fairly confident.

It's a good time to be an Atlanta fan. If only Josh Smith's ankle would hurry up and heal...

*We should be 7-3 but we got jobbed by the refs in the Eagles game. This is almost indisputably the worst season in officiating ever. That's not hyperbole. They've screwed the Chargers, Falcons and $64 million dollars worth of Vegas bets. Somewhere Tim Donaghy is giggling.


Dave said...

Well, you were right about Carolina. I gotta tip my hat to everyone with more confidence than me!

MLT said...

Yeah well. I got the person and body part all wrong.

It was Turner's thighs (of which Daniel is frighteningly infatuated).

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