Week by Week Analysis of the Atlanta Falcons Total Wins

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 2:32 PM GMT

The Atlanta Falcons are tasked with reversing their fortunes after a forgettable season that saw them fall from the heights of NFC South champions down into the division’s cellar. Is the NFL schedule conducive to the Falcons getting back on track? Let’s find out as we preview each game and serve-up our projected outcome.

Atlanta Falcons have upside
By all accounts, expectations have the outcome of NFC South more balanced this season as all four outfits looking well improved. New Orleans Saints are the favourites at +125 in the NFL odds to win the division while defending champions Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are listed joint-second favourites at +275. Lagging at a modest distance are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +650. In regular season wins however the line cuts fine, from the Bucs chalked at a low of 6.5 to the Saints chalked at a high of 9.5, and the Panthers and Falcons chalked at 8.5, If this outlook holds true, the NFC South division is set to be quite competitive, closer than most NFL bettors would expect even.

 

Week 1 vs. New Orleans Saints
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons opened in New Orleans where they fell to a 23-17 defeat. That opening defeat pretty much set the tone for the rest of their forgettable season. In 2014, the Falcons have a shot at redemption, but they have to snap a negative trend against their lofty divisional rivals that goes back to the start of Sean Peyton’s reign. Saints can be beatable on the road however they are dialed into the Falcons.
NFL Pick: Loss

 

Week 2 @ Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals won the AFC North last season on the back of an 11-5 record, which included a perfect 8-0 record at home. Formidable home form set the tone for their hugely successful season and they’ll look to replicate that this term. This matchup will pit Julio Jones and AJ Green for the honour of best receiver. It’s the matchup that has captured the imagination of most NFL bettors. As far as Falcons’ fortunes go, the edge must go to the Bengals on account of a deeper bench and strengths on both sides of the ball.
NFL Pick: Loss

 

Week 3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay and Atlanta have one thing in common this season: they have a lot to prove. Tampa have ushered in a new coach, new system, new quarterback. Atlanta meanwhile have made some improvements, but they’re mostly encouraged by players coming off injury and returning to form this season. This could be an interesting matchup going either way. Falcons should capitalise on home advantage against a Bucs side still learning the new system.
NFL Picks: Win

 

Week 4 @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are searching for their identity, much of which centres on which quarterback will earn the right to lead them into the 2014 season. This is a road game for the Falcons but if Vikings are struggling even marginally they could take the win.
NFL Picks: Win

 

Week 5 @ New York Giants
The Giants have made some delightful improvements that augur well for 2014. Last season was a tale of two contrasting outputs: a horrible start, losing six on the trot; and a solid run to the finish line beginning in week 7, winning seven of their last ten games to finish 7-9. The improvements down the stretch notwithstanding, the glaring discrepancies were still there and so they came out of the pocket in the offseason to fortify top to bottom. Falcons will be hard pressed to take the road win in New York.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 6 vs. Chicago Bears
The key to this game is to exploit the Bears’ abysmal run game; it was so last season, ranking bottom in the league. If the Falcons can run riot with the Bears, they should take the home win.
NFL Picks: Win

 

Week 7 @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are tough to beat at home, end of. In the last few seasons, they’ve lost a handful of home games, including last season when they went 6-2 at home. Ravens’ defense isn’t as formidable as it was when they won the Super Bowl, but expect Flacco and Company to do the job at home.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 8 vs. Detroit Lions
The clash with the Detroit Lions is slated to get underway across the pond, in London, UK. Travel is going to be a factor, along with adjusting to the time change and dealing with the distractions of being abroad. The team that is more disciplined will win this game. It’s a tossup really. Detroit Lions might just have the edge here against a Falcons’ secondary that is exploitable.
NFL Picks: Loss

Week 9  -  Bye

 

Week 10 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coming off a trek to London and a bye week before heading to Tampa Bay isn’t ideal. Tampa Bay are a team many NFL bettors believe could surprise this season. The Falcons might still be recovering from jet lag and the Bucs should be getting used to the new system by now. Advantage hosts.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 11 @ Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have been steadily improving over the last few seasons. In 2011, they finished 6-10 and the year after they finished 7-9. Last season, they enjoyed their long-awaited breakthrough, winning the NFC South behind a 12-4 record. If they are nearly as good as last season, the Falcons will be hard pressed to win in Carolina. That said there’s room for cautious optimism. Cam Newton isn’t 100% going into training camp and it remains to be seen what sort of season he’ll have assuming he stays healthy. What’s more, the Panthers aren’t as solid overall as they were last season on both sides of the ball. It’s a divisional game and it could be a tossup, closer than most would expect.
NFL Pick: Win

 

Week 12 vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are rebuilding, and while they too have a lot to prove they appear a few years away from making a mark. Falcons should take this one at home handily.
NFL Picks: Win

 

Week 13 vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had a great 10-6 finish on the regular season, but by a cruel twist of fate missed the playoffs. They are a sleeper pick in many NFL betting circles, which is a nod to their strengths on both sides of the ball. The Falcons likely don’t have the tools to beat the Cardinals, even with home advantage.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 14 @ Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay on the road is a tall order for most teams. One of the most potent offenses in the league to beat, this is going to be a real test for the Falcons. Once again, the Falcons likely don’t have the requisite weapons to beat the Packers on the road.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 15 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben and the Steelers descend on Atlanta in December with many confident they’ll be making a concentrated push towards the offseason at this point. If that holds true, the Steelers will be unstoppable.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 16 @ New Orleans Saints
This marks their second road game in four weeks and fourth heavyweight in a row. Falcons could be feeling the strain at this point, the wear and tear of coming up against four solid opponents, all of which credible Super Bowl threats this season. What’s more, they’ll be at the Superdome, a tough place for any team to take a win, not to mention impossible last season as the Saints went 8-0. Very little about the Falcons right now suggests they have what it takes to beat Drew Brees and Company at home.
NFL Picks: Loss

 

Week 17 vs. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers descend on the Atlanta Falcons to ring out their seasons. Regardless of where they are in the season, or whether there are playoff implications hanging in the balance, this is a divisional rivalry, so expect both teams to go for the win. Falcons have the home edge, which could prove decisive in a clash with a Panthers side that’s taken a step back over the offseason.
NFL Picks: Win

 

NFL Betting Verdict
According to our projections and predictions, the Falcons are headed towards a 6-10 season (give or take a few games), which puts them firmly under the 8.5 line chalked across sportsbooks. That’s an NFL pick that is favoured at -140 to the Over at +110.