Falcons: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - Printable Version
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Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - McUser - 12-18-2012 12:17 AM
After a season full of nail-biters, the Atlanta Falcons finally got a blowout win Sunday, stomping the New York Giants 34-0. They outgained the Giants in total offense (394 to 256), first downs (22 to 10) and also forced more turnovers (three to zero). It was the first time this year the Falcons have thoroughly outplayed a quality opponent. It was not, however, a "statement" win. It was just one game in a long season, and a clear outlier at that, not a new standard of excellence.
Atlanta was outside the top 10 last week in Football Outsiders' rankings, and one game out of 14 won't change that too much. Even if you're not a believer in Football Outsiders' methods, recent history is full of so-called "statement" games that didn't say much about either team when all was said and done.
The Falcons stand at 12-2 after Sunday's win, but Football Outsiders' system estimates that they "should" have won only about eight of those games, with four extra victories coming through luck in the form of soft scheduling, random turnovers or other factors. That's rarefied air when it comes to overachievement. Since 1991, 11 other teams have finished with winning records and at least three more actual wins than estimated wins. A quick look back at those overachievers paints an ominous picture for this year's Falcons: (can't put the table down copy and paste style. On my phone)
As the table shows, only two of these 11 teams reached the conference title game and only two others won even one playoff game. The other seven either missed the playoffs outright or went one-and-done, including some teams whose first game came at home after a first-round bye. The most recent team to suffer that fate: the 2003 St. Louis Rams, who went 12-4 but lost their first playoff game at home to Carolina. That Carolina team, it's worth noting, also overachieved, and was far and away the most successful of the bunch once the playoffs started.
Why are the Falcons so low in FO's rankings? Though they've lost only two games, they've been in severe danger of losing many others. Seven of their wins have come by eight points or fewer, and many of those have come over bottom dwellers such as Oakland, Philadelphia and Arizona. They should be scolded, not celebrated, for a three-point comeback win at home over the lowly Raiders, a team that has lost to the Dolphins, Broncos, Ravens, Saints and Bengals by at least 20 points apiece.
Atlanta has been particularly weak in the running game, on both sides of the ball. The Falcons have averaged only 3.7 yards per carry on their own rushes (29th in the league), but given up 4.9 yards per carry on opponents' runs (30th).
Some people reading this (many of them, no doubt, residing in the 404 area code) will insist that the Falcons have the best record in the NFC, and that means they're the best team in the NFC, fancy computer numbers be damned. Even those readers, though, should take caution and not get overly excited by one game. Recent history is littered with teams that made "statements" by beating playoff-bound teams in December, then fell flat on their face in the playoffs: (can't put the table down again)
• In 2008, the Steelers were the victims of a "statement" win, losing 31-14 to Tennessee in Week 16. The Titans finished 13-3 but lost their first playoff game to Baltimore. The Steelers finished 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.
• The 2010 Patriots won 14 games, including victories over playoff-bound Jets and Bears teams in back-to-back weeks by a combined score of 81-10. They then lost their first playoff game, at home, to the Jets.
• Last year, a pair of NFC teams made "statement" December wins before going up in smoke. The Saints crushed Atlanta 45-16 on their way to a 13-3 mark, and the 49ers manhandled Pittsburgh and also went 13-3. The Saints beat the Lions in the postseason, but were promptly beaten by the 49ers, who in turn were beaten by the Giants.
Games like that make Atlanta's win Sunday seem much less relevant. It was the best game the Falcons have played this year, but that, by definition, makes it the fluke, not the standard. It was an important win for the Falcons because it brought them one step closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But it would be a mistake to think they're significantly better now than they were one week ago.
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - phocis850 - 12-18-2012 12:45 AM
Wow... how to respond to this?
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - harveybirdman - 12-18-2012 01:24 AM
Schatz can shove his spreadsheet up his ass...
Here's the only stat you need to know Falcons Fans.
Times since 1991 that the DVOA leader won the superbowl? 6 out of 21
Statistics don't mean shit!
Oh and the last DVOA leader to do it, you know DVOA the indicator of great offense? Trent Dilfer's 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - juraitwaluzka - 12-18-2012 01:27 AM
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - Lt.Fro - 12-18-2012 01:55 AM
Fuck that, Fuck the media. We came out and kicked ass, we put together an amazing game we showed everyone we could and this is the play i believe we will see in the playoffs.
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - McUser - 12-18-2012 02:22 AM
Yeah. It's crazy, I don't care what they say. We were in danger of losing those games but we didn't. We won. Because our QB is clutch, because our defense is clutch. Because we are clutch. Whatever, if we don't win it all I still don't think it'll be one of the espn teams (9ers, Giants, Broncos) I'm looking forward to the championship man, I believe we'll be there and I want to read the articles then. Especially if we win, I don't even think a championship will stop this. It's nuts lol
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins - 12-18-2012 07:21 PM
See, we're a hard team for the non-fans to figure out. Those of us who are Falcons fans pay a lot more attention to the Falcons, of course. We know that, most of the year, we have not played up to our potential. We played down to the level of our opponents, but then, due to our resilience, still found a way to win.
We can see what our potential "should be". Outsiders, who have to spread their attention across all 32 teams, can't tell whether we're really better than we played most of the year, or whether we just got lucky a lot. And so they're sitting there on the fence, when the anti-Falcon bias (that comes from 40 years of being a sucky franchise) kicks in and convinces them we're not that good.
They are wrong -- we *are* that good. And finally, vs the Giants, we played up to our potential.
It's actually good for us if no one believes we're that good ... I'll be glad to let them underestimate us.
All we gotta do is keep playing up to our full potential. Haters might still hate, but they'll hate us all the way to Nawlins.
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - AsylumGuido - 12-18-2012 07:21 PM
Seems pretty logical to me. Now, I'm not saying that y'all will not go on to Super Bowl glory this year, but I can see what the doubters are seeing. Atlanta had one of the easiest schedules in the league (good teams at home, easier teams on the road) and had a number of games they very easily could or should have lost. The running game has been suspect and the run defense has struggled, as well.
And, when building perspective history comes into play. Especially recent history. The one and outs with your present coach and QB do not strengthen the outsider's confidence. There are very real reasons why others cannot believe that the Falcons will have postseason success.
Respect has to be earned by the Falcons because the lack of respect was earned, as well.
RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - AsylumGuido - 12-18-2012 07:24 PM
(12-18-2012 07:21 PM)DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins Wrote: See, we're a hard team for the non-fans to figure out. Those of us who are Falcons fans pay a lot more attention to the Falcons, of course. We know that, most of the year, we have not played up to our potential. We played down to the level of our opponents, but then, due to our resilience, still found a way to win.
It makes no difference whatsoever what fans or the media think. It is what the opponents think. There isn't a team out there that will underestimate your squad in the playoffs.
Re: RE: Are the falcons legit (espn insider) - juraitwaluzka - 12-18-2012 07:45 PM
(12-18-2012 07:24 PM)AsylumGuido Wrote: It makes no difference whatsoever what fans or the media think. It is what the opponents think. There isn't a team out there that will underestimate your squad in the playoffs.
This is absolutely the truth.