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Atlanta Falcons Talk
2013 Season Predictions
The Falcons played incredibly well in 2012, racking up 8 straight wins to start the season, finishing 13-3 with their 2nd #1 seed in 3 years, and making a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Still, fans were left wanting more after the Falcons could not hold onto a 17 point lead against the 49ers. Still, fans should take pride in the seasons accomplishments and look to a bright future. Let’s start this off with a recap of my predictions from last year.
2012 Predictions Recap
Overall Record Prediction:
Game By Game Results:
7 of 12 (Missed Minnesota, Seattle, Washington, Cincinnati, & Indianapolis)
Predicted - 370/600, 4800 Yards, 35 TDs, 13 INTs
Actual - 422/615, 4719, 32 TDs, 14 INTs
Predicted - 270 Attempts, 1130 Yards, 9 TDs
Predicted - 20 Receptions, 160 Yards, 1 TD
Actual - 222 Attempts, 800 Yards, 10 TDs
Actual - 19 Receptions, 128 Yards, 1 TD
Predicted - 90 Receptions, 1170 Yards, 12 TDs
Actual - 92 Receptions, 1351 Yards, 7 TDs
Predicted - 70 Receptions, 1155 Yards, 10 TDs
Actual - 79 Receptions, 1198 Yards, 10 TDs
Predicted - 50 Receptions, 750 Yards, 3 TDs
Actual - 38 Receptions, 396 Yards, 1 TDs
Predicted - 65 Receptions, 650 Yards, 7 TDs
Actual - 93 Receptions, 930 Yards, 8 TDs
Predicted - 70 Attempts, 280 Yards, 2 TDs
Predicted - 35 Receptions, 420 Yards, 2 TDs
Actual - 94 Attempts, 362 Yards, 1 TDs
Actual - 53 Receptions, 402 Yards, 1 TDs
Predicted - 8.0 Sacks, 20 TFL, 2 FF
Actual - 10.0 Sacks, 5 TFL, 6 FF
Predicted - 6.5 Sacks, 17 TFL
Actual - 0.0 Sacks, 2 TFL (Yeah...)
Predicted - 5.5 Sacks, 18 TFL, 1 FR, 1 INT
Actual - 4.0 Sacks, 1 TFL
Predicted - 6.0 Sacks, 15 TFL, 1 FF
Actual - Yeah...
Predicted - 3.0 Sacks, 25 TFL
Actual - 0.0 Sacks, 0 TFL, 1 FF
Predicted - 1.0 Sack, 16 TFL
Actual - 3.5 Sacks, 8 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD
Predicted - 7.0 Sacks, 20 TFL, 125 Tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 3 INTs
Actual - 3.0 Sacks, 4 TFL, 95 Tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT
Predicted - 1.0 Sacks, 10 TFL, 110 Tackles, 1 FF
Actual - 0.0 Sacks, 5 TFL, 65 Tackles
Predicted - 3.0 Sacks, 15 TFL, 80 Tackles
Actual - 2.0 Sacks, 3 TFL, 97 Tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT
Predicted - 6 INTs, 10 PD
Actual - Yeah...
Predicted - 8 INTs, 8 PD
Actual - 5 INTs, 19 PD
Predicted - 2.0 Sacks, 2 INTs, 12 PD
Actual - 1.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 8 PD, 1 FF
Predicted - 4 INTs
Actual - 4 INTs
Predicted - 2 INTs
Actual - 6 INTs
Overall, not too bad on my predictions, did really with my offensive predictions, though clearly my defensive predictions need a little work.
So what can we expect from the Falcons this season? As we know, the Falcons lost a few big time contributors this offseason with the retirement of Todd McClure, releases of John Abraham, Dunta Robinson, Michael Turner, and Tyson Clabo, and the Dolphins signing of Brent Grimes. However, reviewing these players performance (or lack thereof in Grimes case) from last year, I believe the only player that we might really miss is Clabo. Like it or not, he was a proven commodity that played well for us, and we will now have a training camp battle between Lamar Holmes and Mike Johnson for the RT spot.
On the defensive side of the ball, Abraham appeared to put up another solid season with 10 sacks, but look at the games in which they occurred: KC - 1.0, SD - 1.0, Car - 1.0, Oak - 3.0, Phi - 1.0, Ari - 2.0, NO - 1.0. That’s 0 sacks against teams with a winning record, 0 sacks in the last 4 games, 0 sacks in the playoffs. People say we have no pass rush without Abe but honestly, I don’t think he helped it as much as people believe.
This is where our additions should come into play, I believe Osi can give us similar production compared to Abe, and I also believe Trufant/Alford will be an upgrade over Dunta, mainly because they won’t knock themselves out of 2-4 games a year. I also think the front office has been very measured in the use of draft picks on the DL, and expect at least one player out of Maponga, Goodman, Matthews, Massaquoi, and Robertson to come up with a 4-6 sack campaign, if not 2 or 3.
On offense, Jackson is an upgrade over Turner, plain and simple. Compare their recent history and you see that Turner hit the wall and could no longer produce when he was needed. Even though he commonly faced 7 or even 6 in the box, Turner was too slow to the hole to make an impact on the games. Jackson can still do this, and he will also serve as an upgrade in the passing game, as he has more receptions in the past 2 seasons (80) than Turner has in his career (70). The big question on offense is the O-Line, and specifically how will it perform with 3 new starters compared to the end of last season. At center, we have Konz moving back to his natural position. He did not look stellar at RG last season, however even playing equally to that at center this year would be an upgrade over McClure’s final campaign. At RG, we will likely see the return of Garrett Reynolds, who played well until an injury cut short his 2012 season. I believe Reynolds has shown improvement each year, and I think that should continue this season. Now we come to RT, where we are likely to see a downgrade in play. Many have anointed Holmes the de facto starter, but I actually believe Johnson has a leg up on him right now. I think Johnson can play well, but I doubt his play will match that of Clabo.
So, all of that in mind, it’s time for my game by game predictions. This season, I found a nifty little tool that lets me pick the results of each game and then spits out which teams will make the playoffs and at what seeds. I went through many different iterations of this before coming up with the following results.
@ New Orleans (2012 Record 7-9)
No gifts from the NFL schedule makers, as the Falcons open on the road for the 4th consecutive season. And to make it all that much harder, the Falcons will travel to play their biggest rival, the New Orleans Saints, to start the season. Expect the offense for both teams to be locked in, meaning this game will come down to the defensive side of the ball. That means you have to ask yourself who do you trust more, a team that will be starting 1 rookie on defense and is in the 2nd season of their current scheme, or a team that is starting at least 1 rookie, if not 2-3, has changed defensive scheme, brought in a coach that has historically had mediocre to bad defenses, and is coming off the worst defensive season in NFL history? I know who I would pick.
vs. St. Louis (2012 Record 7-8-1)
I’ve wavered on St. Louis much of the offseason. On the one hand, I believe they have an above average defense that can keep them in games. On the other hand, we signed their starting RB and their top receiving threat from last season now plays for the Patriots. I think we will make Bradford’s day a living hell in route to the victory.
@ Miami (2012 Record 7-9)
The Dolphins went 7-9 last season, however they only defeated 2 winning teams (Cincinnati and Seattle) in the process. It is thought they improved, but I believe the loss of their #1 rusher/#4 receiver (Reggie Bush) and their LT (Jake Long) will wreak havoc on their offense and cause them to be worse than a lot of people think.
vs. New England (2012 Record 12-4)
Another big test for the Falcons as they play one of only 3 teams (Patriots, Steelers, Texans) the Falcons haven’t defeated in the past 5 years. The big question for the Patriots is who will Brady throw the ball to. Hernandez is gone, Gronk is a giant question mark, Welker is in Denver, Lloyd is still a free agent, and Woodhead is also gone. Right now, it seems that Brady’s top 3 targets are Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Mike Jenkins. That is likely a big downgrade for this team, and add to that a middle of the road defense, and I believe the Falcons will win this game.
vs. NY Jets (2012 Record 6-10)
Rex Ryan. Mark Sanchez. Geno Smith. Everyone should get ready, because the first MNF game in October will see the circus come to Atlanta. The Jets are an absolute mess right now, and there is no reason to believe it will be sorted out any time soon. I fully expect the Falcons to win this game, and to win big.
vs. Tampa Bay (2012 Record 7-9)
Coming off a BYE, we get to host a Bucs team that will be coming off a game against the Eagles. not as daunting as years past, but still, I expect the Falcons to come out rested and ready to play and improved Bucs team. When it’s all said and done, however, Tampa Bay and their “No-Fly Zone” will be boarding a plane back to Tampa with a loss.
@ Arizona (2012 Record 5-11)
I have contended for a while now that the biggest factor in Ryan’s 5 INT game against the Cardinals last season was that they were coming off a BYE, while we were coming off a game against a division rival. This season, we travel to Arizona after facing a division rival again, but this time, the Cardinals will be coming off back-to-back games against the 49ers and the Seahawks. While I expect the Cardinals to improve this year, I don’t think Ryan has another game like last season, and that will lead to a Falcons victory.
@ Carolina (2012 Record 7-9)
For all the crap we give the Saints, I believe we might want to focus a bit more on Carolina. If Cam Newton ever gets his head out of his ass and grows up, I believe the Panthers could be a good football team. We’ll see how they play this season, but I’m saying they put an end to the Falcons undefeated season right here.
vs. Seattle (2012 Record 11-5)
Division round rematch, and luckily back in the Dome. Last season, the Falcons coughed up a huge lead and had to come back for a victory and NFC Championship Game berth. This season, in a regular season matchup, the Seahawks will be coming in for an early game after playing the Bucs in Seattle the week before. The Seahawks historically have trouble with just this type of game, and I believe the addition of Jackson plays big here as the Falcons attempt to send a statement.
@ Tampa Bay (2012 Record 7-9)
After a few tough games in a row, the Falcons hit the road for the 3rd time in 4 weeks to play the Bucs. Not an easy game in recent years, I do expect the Bucs to continue to improve off of last season, especially with their defensive additions. I think the Falcons get caught looking ahead to the Thursday night showdown with the Saints here and slip up, dropping a close one to Tampa Bay.
vs. New Orleans (2012 Record 7-9)
The last time the Falcons swept the Saints, one of the games was played in San Antonio and the starting QBs were Vick and Brooks. I think the Saints will play better with Sean Payton back, but I also think their defense will still be one of the worst in the league. All of that mixes together to give the Falcons their first series sweep in 8 years.
@ Buffalo (Toronto) (2012 Record 6-10)
In the Falcons only game against an opponent coming off of a BYE, the Falcons will travel to Toronto to play the Bills. I will freely admit I could be wrong, but I don’t see the Bills being a good team this season. In fact, I actually have the AFC East as one of the worst divisions in football this season. The Bills will use the BYE to keep this game close, but in the end, the Falcons do just enough to escape Canada with a win.
@ Green Bay (2012 Record 11-5)
This is the beginning of the Falcons absolute toughest stretch, they will play 3 2012 division winners in 3 weeks, and 2 of those on the road. Winning in Green Bay is always tough, but add to that a December game and it is all the harder. I expect it to be cold, damn cold, and I expect it to wreak havoc on the Falcons passing game. Expect Jackson and Quizz to see a lot of touches, but it won’t be enough to win.
vs. Washington (2012 Record 10-6)
Returning to the climate controlled Georgia Dome, the Falcons will be playing a Redskins team that I thoroughly believe overachieved last season. I believe RG3 can be a good QB in this league, but his knee injury last season will hamper his running threat, and the passing game will suffer. The Falcons will win this game, but it will be a close one.
@ San Francisco (2012 Record 11-4-1)
The NFL Schedule makers gave the Falcons two honors this season, they get to be Sean Payton’s return to the NFL game, and they get to be the 49ers opponent in the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. In my scenario, the Falcons are in a situation where a win would lock up the #1 seed for the 2nd straight season. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Falcons winning here.
vs. Carolina (2012 Record 7-9)
Based on my predictions, week 17 is going to be very interesting in the NFC. At this point, I’ve got Washington and New York playing for the NFC East crown, Green Bay in Chicago needing a win and Falcons loss to clinch the #1 seed, while the Bears need a win to earn a playoff birth. New Orleans will have clinched the 5 seed, but can eliminate Tampa Bay with a win, and Arizona will still have a chance at a wild card berth with a win at home over San Fran and a little help. Very interesting times. As I said earlier, I think the Panthers are about to become the team that has our number, they are built just right to beat us and I think that comes through here, as they send the Falcons to the playoffs with a loss.
1. NY Giants - 9-7
2. Dallas - 8-8
3. Washington - 8-8
4. Philadelphia - 6-10
1. Atlanta - 11-5
2. New Orleans - 10-6
3. Tampa Bay - 9-7
4. Carolina - 8-8
1. Green Bay - 10-6
2. Chicago - 9-7
3. Detroit - 8-8
4. Minnesota - 7-9
1. San Francisco - 10-6
2. Arizona - 9-7
3. Seattle - 8-8
4. St. Louis - 6-10
1. New England - 11-5
2. Miami - 7-9
3. Buffalo - 5-11
4. NY Jets - 3-13
1. Houston - 12-4
2. Indianapolis - 8-8
3. Tennessee - 6-10
4. Jacksonville - 2-14
1. Cincinnati - 10-6
2. Baltimore - 8-8
3. Pittsburgh - 8-8
4. Cleveland - 7-9
1. Denver - 11-5
2. Kansas City - 10-6
3. San Diego - 7-9
4. Oakland - 5-11
NFC Playoff Seeds
1. Atlanta - 11-5
2. San Francisco - 10-6
3. Green Bay - 10-6
4. NY Giants - 9-7
5. Chicago - 10-6
6. New Orleans - 10-6
AFC Playoff Seeds
1. Houston - 12-4
2. New England - 11-5
3. Denver - 11-5
4. Cincinnati - 10-6
5. Kansas City - 10-6
6. Baltimore - 8-8
427/620, 4,900 Yards, 36 TDs, 13 INTs, 103.0 Rating
220 Carries, 950 Yards, 9 TDs
50 Receptions, 450 Yards, 3 TDs
90 Carries, 400 Yards, 3 TDs
45 Receptions, 340 Yards, 2 TDs
15 Carries, 60 Yards, 2 TDs
25 Receptions, 165 Yards
95 Receptions, 1,300 Yards, 10 TDs
95 Receptions, 1,400 Yards, 13 TDs
90 Receptions, 950 Yards, 8 TDs
7 Sacks, 15 TFL, 1 FF
4 Sacks, 12 TFL, 1 INT
3 Sacks, 13 TFL
2 Sacks, 8 TFL, 1 FF
2 Sacks, 10 TFL
6 Sacks, 14 TFL, 115 Tackles, 2 INTs
2 Sacks, 7 TFL, 70 Tackles
3 Sacks, 12 TFL, 110 Tackles
6 INTs, 15 PD
2 INTs, 7 PD
3 INTs, 5 PD
1 INT, 2 PD
4 INTs, 3 PD, 1 Sack
3 INTs, 5 PD
The Man In Black
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