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 Post subject: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:04 am 
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Posted: 8:07 am Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
Football Outsiders: Falcons worst in NFC South

By Mark Bradley

As noted, my favorite predictions — to read, if not to make — are those steeped in advanced analytics. Regarding football, the place to go for advanced analytics is Football Outsiders, which I’ve referenced many times. And it was, you might recall, Football Outsiders that sounded the loudest alarm ahead of the Atlanta Falcons’ 2013 crash.

(In its 2013 Almanac, Football Outsiders set the Falcons’ “mean projection” at 7.6 wins, the lowest of any team in the NFC South. The Falcons hadn’t won fewer than nine games in any of the previous five seasons and had just gone 13-3. Lo and behold, the smooth-running Falcons went 4-12 — way worse than even this most pessimistic of predictions — and tied Tampa Bay for last in the division.)

(A further aside: After I wrote about the Football Outsiders forecast last summer, my phone rang early the next morning. It was a member of the Falcons’ brass — you’d know the name if I told you, which I won’t — calling to suggest that such gloom and doom was misplaced.)

But now we move, as Lindsey Nelson used to say on those Notre Dame edited replays, to further action. Aaron Schatz, who’s the editor-in-chief of Football Outsiders, has offered what he terms “quick-and-dirty” NFC projections for ESPN Insiders, and those numbers see the 2014 Falcons being better than 4-12 but still last in their division. The Falcons are assigned a mean projection of 7.0 wins. New Orleans is the clear frontrunner with 10.7 mean wins; then comes Carolina at 7.9, with Tampa Bay third at 7.5.

Of the Falcons, Schatz writes:

For Atlanta, you have to figure the return of Julio Jones is offset by the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons’ best bet for a return to the postseason is for their young defensive talent to blossom in Mike Nolan’s new 3-4 scheme. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise, but it isn’t likely enough to forecast a good defense.

Hope shouldn’t be abandoned just yet. Football Outsiders sees the Falcons going 7-9, with Carolina and Tampa Bay both finishing 8-8. That’s not a lot of difference, duh. (New Orleans is tabbed at 11-5, which is the best projected record in the conference. Yes, better than Seattle and San Francisco.) And even the most sagacious prognosticator doesn’t get everything right. But Football Outsiders is, I say again, pretty darn sagacious.

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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 12:10 pm 
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We'll be in the playoff hunt


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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 3:07 pm 
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Quote:
But now we move, as Lindsey Nelson used to say on those Notre Dame edited replays, to further action. Aaron Schatz, who’s the editor-in-chief of Football Outsiders, has offered what he terms “quick-and-dirty” NFC projections for ESPN Insiders, and those numbers see the 2014 Falcons being better than 4-12 but still last in their division. The Falcons are assigned a mean projection of 7.0 wins. New Orleans is the clear frontrunner with 10.7 mean wins; then comes Carolina at 7.9, with Tampa Bay third at 7.5.


The above article is rather accurate in my opinion. Except that we're so close as a team to Carolina and Tampa, I doubt we finish last in the division. If they project 7 wins that means to me we could win 9, but I wouldn't bet on it. When you can't even name many players on your defense and your a fan, then I think that speaks for itself!!

I don't know if I've ever watched a team not have a player who could get 6-8 sacks a year ( except last year ) Maybe some of our new linebackers will get some sacks??

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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 6:30 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
We'll be in the playoff hunt





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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:19 pm 
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Until we see how the new guys and rookies integrate into this team it'll be nigh impossible to predict within any degree of accuracy how well any team in the NFC South will perform.

Then of course there is the whole in-season issue of injuries.

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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 12:54 am 
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Really look at the Falcons..... did we make 5 or 6 big deals?? No, hopefully we got a good draft pick who'll help us hopefully for years but not that much as a rookie.

So your right, I can't talk that much about other teams, but if we won 4 last year I'd consider 7 wins decent since our players just are not that good!!

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 Post subject: Re: Football Nerdsiders says we will be last in our division
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 1:05 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
Until we see how the new guys and rookies integrate into this team it'll be nigh impossible to predict within any degree of accuracy how well any team in the NFC South will perform.

Then of course there is the whole in-season issue of injuries.

It's not nigh impossible. The main things for NFL teams are 3 fold:

1. Quarterback play
2. Rushing game success (which can offset poor QB play)
3. Defensive success (which can also offset poor QB play)

The Falcons are good in QB play, probably 2nd in the division. But their rushing game success and defensive success is likely to be dead last in the division. We have the weakest pass rush of any team in the division, by far, thus we have the weakest ability to offset opposing QB play. Our running game is by far the weakest in the division.

The hope for the Falcons is that Ryan plays well enough and hope that our running game and defensive play approach league average levels. If they do, then we should be in the playoff hunt. If not, then we'll be an also ran.

At this point in time, I would say we are on a similar plane as the Bucs & Panthers, but there's a sizable gap between us and the Saints. The Bucs QB play isn't great, but they have the potential to offset it with Doug Martin if he has a year like he did in 2012. Their defense will also be at least above average with Lovie Smith coordinating it, and arguably the best LB in the entire league in Lavonte David and one of the 3 best DTs in McCoy. Not to mention, a possible Top 10-15 corner like Verner (much like we have in Trufant).

The Panthers secondary is weak, but they have the best front 7 in the division. Their big problem is their OL and it's potential to prohibit their running game, which is the focus of their offense since Newton is a good QB but not a great one. Plus given their lack of weapons at WR, it's unlikely that Newton will be able to produce beyond a league average level.

So if I was a betting man, I would say between the Bucs, Falcons, and Panthers, FO's prediction of about 7-9 wins is pretty accurate, with the Saints likely starting at 9+ since they have Brees, weapons at WR, a good OL, a decent run game, a good pass rush, and a revamped secondary with Byrd's addition.

They are clearly the class of the division and the only thing that will probably stop them is injuries or TB making a huge leap under Lovie.

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