In soft NFC South, can Falcons take advantage?

Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston suffered four sacks and two interceptions in a rough NFL debut. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston suffered four sacks and two interceptions in a rough NFL debut. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Even before the Falcons awoke Monday, still a perfect 0-0, it had been a good opening weekend for them.

For the news from around the NFC South Sunday was all encouraging. As many thought in the preseason, their neighborhood does not look so tough at the real season’s first glance. Week One confirmed the notion that any small improvement Dan Quinn impresses upon the Falcons can be felt big time in the division standings.

On this dawn of a new season, the Falcons first can be thankful that Tampa Bay took Jameis Winston rather than Marcus Mariota No. 1. Head-to-head, their meeting was a mismatch. Tennessee’s Mariota became the first rookie quarterback since Fran Tarkenton to throw four touchdown passes in his first game. Meanwhile, Winston’s first pro pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The Bucs lost 42-14 and dispelled any notion that Winston would be an instant remedy. That member of the NFC South will be riding a jagged learning curve.

The Saints did as expected in Arizona, losing 31-19. They certainly missed Jimmy Graham, struggling to finish off possessions inside the red zone. Their loss was not a disgrace by any measure, but it was a signal that the Saints are still a few notches south of special.

And Carolina, the class of the conference, got past Jacksonville, 20-9, neither a score nor an opponent that suggests a juggernaut rolls in Charlotte. The Panthers’ best defender, Luke Kuechly, suffered a concussion and a goodly number of dropped passes and some wasted big-play opportunities reminded them of how much they will miss the injured Kelvin Benjamin.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they have to play the entire NFC East and go six games deep before getting to measure themselves against a team in their own division. The soft part of the schedule is more than a month away, if any part of this re-tooling team’s docket can be called that without a snicker.

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

I have always said the Falcons are the ultimate not ready for prime time team. That game against Green Bay a couple of years ago was the saddest of all. Or maybe blowing a 17 point lead against San Francisco in the NFC Championship game. I believe this team will go maybe 8-8. I do not think  Dan Quinn will give 2 games away like our previous Coach Smith. I would be shocked if they win on MNF.

RPG7301
RPG7301

There is a difference between conferences and divisions....but you wouldn't understand that reading this article....

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Excellent Article!   GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

extremus
extremus

Tell me if you've seen this one before (I've lost count myself): the Falcons are playing a Monday Night or other marquee game and all the discussion on ESPN and by the announcers is in regards to their opponent.  This time around it's the Eagles, whom ESPN has already essentially crowned NFC East champions based upon the Dez Bryant injury in Dallas.  So far EVERY article I've seen there leading up to this game has been about the Eagles; like countless times before the Falcons are relegated to being "the other team" the one the networks and announcers clearly root for happens to be playing against.


I'd love to see the Falcons wipe the floor with Philadelphia tonight if for no other reason than that alone.  I'm sick and tired of the slant that the media gives in favor of teams with larger markets (and by extension, revenue).

David McCallum
David McCallum

@extremus I could not agree with more. Normally, I'm not into the Fan complex thing, but you were right. After listening to the second half of the game, it was like Gruden and Tirico could not wait to begin praising the Eagles, and of course Chip Kelly. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Preseason read was D should be marginally better, there was an upgrade at running back, but the o-line is horrendous. New faces there, fortunately, because what we saw in game 3 was #########. Everything rides on how effective the o-line can be and how soon, as in before Ryan is knocked out or the team is buried in the standings.

Jmonty
Jmonty

No "O" line... No running game...  Matty Ice put some big numbers up..  But, the "D" will fold quicker than a hand with only a 10 high....  I don't see our "D" stopping the Eagles.  Philly whips up on us. 44-20 

gfw
gfw

Ron Rivera has the Panthers steadily improving, and although they don't exactly have a brain at QB, he's been improving, and the team is pretty solid across the board.  It's their division to lose.  We'll know more about us after we see how our OL handles the Eagles.

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

They do not have a offensive or defensive line thus the best they can expect this season is 8 & 8.  And yes they could still win the division.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Take advantage of second place maybe.  The birds don't even have the talent to win this sorry division.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Lovie Smith should be fired for taking the rapist thug QB over the classy Mariota.  Loved it!

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Yeah if they win the game tonight they'll be one game ahead of Tampa bay...