The Atlanta Falcons have hit mid-season at an impressive 8-0 mark. At this point, questions about playoff seeds and home-field advantage are going to sprout up. There are also questions about who will make the Pro Bowl and what individual final stats will look like.
Will the Falcons be able to get home-field advantage?
Some may say that home-field advantage may not be the best thing for the Falcons this year, after they have won their road games by seven, 16, 24 and 13 points. However, when the Falcons are in the Georgia Dome, they feel unbeatable.
As they should. The Falcons are 30-4 under Matt Ryan at the dome and 30-6 under coach Mike Smith. There is an air of invincibility at home.
To start 8-0, it puts the Falcons in a spot where the NFC south is pretty much locked up at mid-season. However, they will need to win at least five of their last eight games to have a shot at home field, including the matchup with the New York Giants—a team that could challenge them for the home-field rights.
Odd on Playoff Seeds
If the playoff started today, the NFC seeds would look like this:
1. Atlanta Falcons, 2. Chicago Bears, 3. San Francisco 49ers, 4. New York Giants, 5. Green Bay Packers, 6. Seattle Seahawks
While the Falcons look to have locked up at least one of the top four seeds, the rest of the situation is still completely open. It's also just the midway point in the season and would be too early to speculate. But all the Falcons really have to do is continue to win and they will keep the No. 1 seed.
Projected Final Statistics for Key Players and Pro Bowl Projections
Matt Ryan: 412-for-598 (68.9 percent), 4,720 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 36 times sacked, 103.0 Passer Rating, 38 carries, 186 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
Matt Ryan isn't just in the conversation for his second Pro Bowl; he's also being mentioned as a possible MVP candidate. If he can maintain his current pace, he will have the best season a Falcons quarterback has ever had. It will be interesting to see how much he can inflate his numbers, with two games against the Saints' terrible defense remaining.
Verdict—Pro Bowl is almost definite. But he also has an outside shot at the MVP.
Michael Turner: 256 carries, 1,034 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 20 catches, 166 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
Michael Turner finally is seeing the drastic reduction in carries that has been long overdue. However, he's still an active participant in the offense and is having a career year as a receiver. He should still eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on the ground and provides the bulk of the Falcons' running game.
Verdict—He won't be heading to Hawaii anymore.
Jacquizz Rodgers: 84 carries, 274 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns, 48 catches, 380 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 22 kick returns, 588 kick return yards, 0 kick return touchdowns
Jacquizz Rodgers has been an effective player on the ground and out in the flats. While he isn't going to wow people with his speed and isn't a "muscle hamster" like Doug Martin or Maurice Jones-Drew, Rodgers gives the Falcons that third-down element they had been missing with Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling backing up Michael Turner.
Verdict—No Hawaii this year, but he could eventually work his way into a Sproles-type role.
Roddy White: 94 catches, 1,418 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns
Roddy White has been tremendous this year and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. While he may have started his career poorly, this looks to be his fifth-straight year in Hawaii. He is also on pace for his sixth-straight year of at least 80 catches, 1150 yards and six touchdowns—a feat only duplicated by Torry Holt and Jerry Rice.
Verdict—Pro Bowl definite if he can keep this pace.
Julio Jones: 80 catches, 1,256 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns, 8 carries, 36 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns
Julio Jones is looking better in his sophomore season than he did as a rookie. He's being used all around the field, and with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez makes up one of the best receiving combinations for any quarterback in the NFL.
Verdict—Not in Hawaii this year. But he could end up there very soon.
Tony Gonzalez: 100 catches, 990 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns
Tony Gonzalez is the best tight end of all time. He's also having a year that any tight end would be proud to have as their last. He said he wanted to retire at the end of this season, and the Falcons are trying to send him out with a bang and a ring.
Verdict—Send him to Hawaii one last time on merit of him being the "Greatest Tight End of All Time."
John Abraham: 40 tackles (40 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 6 fumbles forced
John Abraham is proving that age is nothing but a number this year. His projection for one of the best years of his career proves that the decision to come back and play in Mike Nolan's scheme was the right one.
Verdict—Fringe on Hawaii with these numbers. But still a really good year for him.
Jonathan Babineaux: 44 tackles (38 solo), 14 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 fumbles forced
Babineaux is the iron man of the Falcons defensive line. He plays well over 70 percent of the snaps and is able to play the run and pass equally well. His pace for the best year of his career sack-wise is going to put him on the fringe as a defensive tackle Pro Bowl candidate.
Verdict—Fringe Pro Bowl player. Likely alternate.
Sean Weatherspoon: 104 tackles (80 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 fumbles forced, 2 fumbles recovered
Sean Weatherspoon has been tremendous all season as an all-around player. He was out for the Cowboys game, and his loss was definitely missed in the run defense. However, he is on pace for a better season than 2011 and should be in the mix as a top 4-3 OLB for a spot in Hawaii.
Verdict—He gets to his first Pro Bowl, provided he stays healthy enough to make it through the year.
Stephen Nicholas: 98 tackles (74 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 2 fumbles forced, 2 fumbles recovered
Nicholas is finally thriving after being the third wheel to Weatherspoon and the departed Curtis Lofton in 2011. This season he is on pace for career numbers in tackles and turnovers forced. He has been a key cog in the defense and will only get better as he gets more comfortable in Nolan's scheme.
Verdict—No Pro Bowl for Nicholas, but not because he doesn't deserve it. He just isn't getting recognition.
Asante Samuel: 52 tackles (50 solo), 2 interceptions, 2 touchdowns
Asante Samuel has been the best seventh-round value in the history of trading players for seventh-round picks. He's started every game and has been excellent in coverage. Without Samuel in the fold, losing Brent Grimes would have crippled the Falcons' defense.
Verdict—Not Pro Bowl, but looking like he's been more than worth the pick traded for him.
Dunta Robinson: 78 tackles (64 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 2 fumbles forced
Robinson was originally the slot corner this season and looked good in that role for one game. Outside of a few bad games, he's been one of the most consistent players in the secondary. His leadership and attitude as a hitter have made him extremely valuable. He's also playing much better in Mike Nolan's defense.
Verdict—Not Pro Bowl, but finally playing up to his contract.
Thomas DeCoud: 78 tackles (68 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 8 interceptions, 2 fumbles recovered
Thomas DeCoud was always a poor fit in Brian VanGorder's schemes, despite earning the starting spot in just his second season. He has proven that he is a top-10 safety in this league with his play this season, and is on pace for one of the best years ever for a Falcons safety.
Verdict—Pro Bowl if he continues to rack up the turnovers.
William Moore: 94 tackles (72 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles forced, 2 fumbles recovered
William Moore is playing out of his mind this year. Thomas DeCoud breaking out is only allowing Moore to break out even more. He's been all over the field and both of the Falcons' safeties are loving the new scheme that Nolan installed, because it allows both of them to do their best Brian Dawkins and LeRoy Butler impressions out there.
Verdict—Pro Bowl. He's the best strong safety in the NFC right now.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.
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