NFL Midseason Report: Atlanta Falcons
This week officially marks the midpoint of the NFL season. In midseason fashion, I will be presenting a review for every team in the league, starting with the NFC this week and concluding with the AFC after Week 9.
Some teams have their destinies sealed already, both good and bad. It's now time in the season to look back at how each team has performed and predict how it will perform in the coming weeks.
In this installment, I'll take a look at the team who performed the best in the NFC throughout the entire 2010 season. Now, one awful playoff loss and a 4-3 record later, Matty Ice and the boys are trying to continue their hot streak after a road victory over the pesky Detroit Lions.
Read on and I'll inform you on everything Atlanta Falcons at the midway point of the 2011 season.
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Not even one year removed from holding the best record in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons are sitting at 4-3 one half game back behind the New Orleans Saints.
The thing is though, the Falcons haven't even been that impressive in each victory outside the win over the Lions at Ford Field.
Matt Ryan and the offense are slowly letting the state of Georgia down from its peak in December of 2010, when Atlanta's club was 13-3 and held home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With winnable games throughout the rest of the season, however, it's not too out of the question to declare this a playoff-caliber team. There is not one game on the schedule that I can definitively point out and declare to be a loss.
The defense has shown flashes, and Big 12 youngsters Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon (Oklahoma and Mizzou, respectively) are eager to continue to prove that they are the defensive stars of the 2011 season.
Michael Turner, as always, is turning in another mammoth season. He has 621 yards on the ground in just seven games.
The NFC South is one of the toughest divisions in football. Are the Falcons primed to return to their 2010 form?
MVP: Sean Weatherspoon, LB
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How can this award go to anyone else?
In just his second professional season, Sean Weatherspoon has managed to become a leader at the linebacker position.
Through seven games he has 60 tackles (just four behind team leader Curtis Lofton), two sacks and a multitude of big hits (one of which can be seen here). His five tackles for losses leads the team and he truly has become a defensive anchor for the club.
Plus he went to Mizzou. There's that. Never mind where I'm attending school.
What Needs Improvement
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The Falcons may have a top-10 run defense, but the pass D definitely needs work. After holding a 14-0 lead over the Green Bay Packers on October 9th, the offense froze and the defense gave up 25 unanswered to Aaron Rodgers and his title belt.
The pass unit ranks 23rd overall in the NFL, and they must improve if they want to be taken seriously come crunch December. They have given up more than 242 yards in the air in six out of seven contests.
The team is 4-3 (tied with the Buccaneers and one-half game back of the Saints) and has a shot to make some noise to get to the postseason, but not until the corners and safeties start doing their job.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Week 9: @ Indianapolis Colts—Win
Week 10: vs. New Orleans Saints—Win
Week 11: vs. Tennessee Titans—Win
Week 12: vs. Minnesota Vikings—Win
Week 13: @ Houston Texans—Loss
Week 14: @ Carolina Panthers—Loss
Week 15: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars—Win
Week 16: @ New Orleans Saints—Loss
Week 17: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Loss
Projected finish: 9-7, 3rd in NFC South
Next up in the series: Chicago Bears
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