Falcons Pass First Two Tests, Tough Opponent Still Looming

Bradley MartinContributor ISeptember 21, 2009

The Falcons entered into this season as an improved team.

But still, many people predicted a slump from last year, even with the additions over the offseason.

The Falcons have a tough schedule this year, and the start of the season looked especially daunting. 

In their first three games, the Falcons play the last year's AFC "surprise team-of-the-year" the Miami Dolphins, the NFC South champions Carolina Panthers, and arguably the best organization in the NFL- the New England Patriots (who have Hall of Fame QB  back in good health). 

Looking at this, it's easy to see why some doubted that the Falcons could repeat their 11-win season a year ago. 

Now two games into the season, the Falcons and their fans are brimming with confidence and optimism.

So far, the Falcons have knocked off the Dolphins and the Panthers

The defense has played above expectations, while the offense is living up to their potential as one of the best in the NFC.

And it looks like last season all over again.

Matt Ryan threw for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns (a career high), while Turner rushed for 105 yards and one touchdown. 

The weapons on the offensive side of the ball are lethal, and the addition of Tony Gonzalez, who in his first two games has 144 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns, so far looks to be the best move by any NFL team in the off season. 

The defense has its question marks, but for the most part they have held their own and put their team in a position to win.

In the first two games they have created 6 turnovers and some of those were in very critical situations (see Chris Houston's interception with a minute and a half left in the game against Carolina to secure the win).

The Falcons have passed their first two tests with flying colors, but their biggest challenge will be this upcoming weekend against the Patriots.  While before the season most prognosticators were pencilling this in as a loss, now the tune may well be changing. 

In their first two games, the Patriots have looked very mediocre. 

They were outplayed by a less-than average Buffalo, and should have lost if not for a fumble in the waning minutes of the game and were beat up-down the field this past weekend by a rookie quarterback-led NY Jets

The offense has struggled and their defense looks resembles less like the dominating crew they have been for the last several years. 

I will preview this game later on in the week, but this looks to be a very winnable game for the Falcons. 

The Falcons are 2-0 for the first time since 2006 and are looking to continue their impressive start. Even if the Falcons lose against the Pats' a 2-1 start would still be a fantastic start to the '09 season

The Falcons are flying high and are ready to show them boys from the North how football is played in the ol' dirty South.