A soft schedule could jump-start the Falcons’ revival

Dan Quinn should be a happy man, given that schedule. (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

Dan Quinn should be a happy man, given that schedule. (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

Dan Quinn should be a happy man, given that schedule. (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

Dan Quinn should be a happy man, given that schedule. (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

With all that has happened since, we tend to forget that the Atlanta Falcons were one game from winning their (admittedly lousy) division last season, and had they won that game — they lost to Carolina 34-3 — they’d surely have won the resulting Round 1 matchup with Arizona, which was down to its third-string quarterback. The point being: Even though they weren’t very good, the 2014 Falcons didn’t miss by all that much.

Their 2015 schedule is a not-very-good team’s dream. It includes only four games against 2014 playoff qualifiers, four against teams coming off winning seasons. It includes five games against teams holding top five picks in next week’s draft.

Photos: Game-by-game look at Falcons’ 2015 schedule

It involves no trip to London. Indeed, the road half of it reads like an SEC East itinerary: Beyond the NFC South home-and-homes, the Falcons will play in Nashville and Jacksonville. There’s only one flight (to San Francisco) longer than two hours.

The 2014 Falcons finished 6-10 with two giveaways — Detroit at Wembley and Cleveland here. If new man Dan Quinn simply stays out of the way in endgame settings, might the Falcons win one or two (or three or four) more?

The NFC South looks winnable. (Heck, Carolina won it last season despite being 3-7-1 on Dec. 6.) Tampa Bay has the draft’s first overall pick. New Orleans has lost Jimmy Graham and seems in retreat mode. It didn’t take much to finish first in this division last season; it probably won’t take much more next time.

I’m not saying the Falcons look great. (For one thing, we don’t know how they’re going to spend the draft’s eighth overall pick. For another, we’re not sure who’s doing what in Flowery Branch.) But this schedule offers hope. Game 1 comes against Philadelphia on Monday night in the Dome — a curious choice, given that neither team made the playoffs last season — and the Eagles just changed quarterbacks and signed Tim Tebow to boot. That’s a winnable game.

Truth to tell, there aren’t many non-winnable games to be found. (Maybe Dallas in Arlington, and that’s a maybe.) Much had to go wrong for this franchise to slip from the 13-3 of 2012 to the 10-22 of the past two seasons. Things might be starting to go right.

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
candlin14
candlin14

Trade down and bid for Peterson, For some reason the Falcons have lost sight of the fact that we were successful those five years from pounding the football on the ground and then letting Ryan play action.. GET A RUN GAME ATL!!!

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Recipe: Do not draft anyone who has been injured in the last 12 months. Do not draft anyone who played for Kentucky. If Brandon Scherff is available at #8, take him. If not, trade down. This draft has 4 rush specialists, 3 of whom do not belong in the top 16 of the first round. Yes, of course that's only my opinion.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Marky Doo, I think you probably know I don't agree w you often, but I'm all in w you on this one:


"The NFC South looks winnable."


Absolutely, it does!


However, it seems to me the pertinent question on a sports blog in the Atlanta Journal/Constitutuin should be, "Can a useless cowardly bunch of boob losers like the Atlanta Falcons win the NFC South?"


The answer to that question is, of course, "No chance in hell!!!!!" 


You're such an adorable dimwit goofball.



atlfanman
atlfanman

One of the worse things anyone can assume that this is a soft schedule. There are only a few bad teams in the NFL and on any given Sunday one of them can beat you. Please note HotDawg's lists of needs for the Falcons. For the last two years we were and have been one of the bad teams.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Mark, You trying to sell PSL's on the side for King Arthur?

HotDawg
HotDawg

When did the Falcons get a defense?

Oh, they didn't.

When did the Falcons get an O-Line, RB, TE, and another decent WR?

Oh, they didn't. 

I'm sure the draft will change all that. Yeah, right.

Good luck Falcons. This is a bigger rebuild than the Braves.

2017? Maybe 2019, if they're lucky.

My PSL check is under review. Doesn't look good.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

a six pack of bud light and the falcons will look good for anyone

GT71
GT71

Let's hear it for the 'homer'.  MB knows not much more than any fan.  And guess what?  A 'soft' schedule is only 'soft' if you are 'hard'.

The Falcons aren't.

3-13.

OK, maybe 5-11.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@GT71 Good post. Brat Li is a complete fool.

Fierce
Fierce

I don't know. The schedule is certainly deemed an easy one, and I believe I heard that it was the easiest, in terms of opponent win percentage from last season. Granted, that doesn't mean much in a new season, but still. Maybe it's the revival of hope that Coach Quinn brings with him, and a new staff, and a new lead running back, but I can see a winning record from this schedule. I wouldn't be surprised at 11-5, which I think is the max number of games we might win. 7 is the minimum I see. The offense should get better, in terms of efficiency, but the Oline resolutions remain to be seen. The defense has nowhere to go but up. This year's philosophy should pretty much be the same as last seasons, which was to score 30 points per game, and hope the defense gives up 28.  

Truth5678
Truth5678

Mark you pretty much said the same thing last year too...

gfw
gfw

We're behind every team in our division, and so far not much has been done that would encourage anyone to think that still isn't so.


And I don't see why you think the Dallas game is a "maybe"---12-4 and division champs, remember?  If we're going to pick games right now that we seem likely to lose, surely that would be one them.  A regular on NFL Today recently picked the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl.

ClubShark
ClubShark

because of the terrible drafts and personnel moves, atl has talent gaps all over the roster--it will take 2-3 years to get the talent to compete with Green Bay and Seattle in the NFC

SeanLB
SeanLB

I'll just be happy if we don't have to endure another season in which we witness grotesque coaching blunders costing the team wins.

seminoleking
seminoleking

didnt the foulcans have the weakest schedule in the nfl this PAST season............lmao

Truth5678
Truth5678

Mark Bradley has another homer observation? Wow I'm shocked! Mark you can also say that every team they play are looking at the Falcons as a winnable game. 

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

Hope springs eternal with Mark Bradley...unfortunately, a wasted story and his hope is just that...nothing but hope as the Falcons will flail about all season.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I like the schedule. I think they'll rebound. Probably playoffs.

Chi Ali
Chi Ali

Good I might try to go to Arlington to watch my boys crush the falcons, this Quinn guy has never been head coach a step back if you ask me especially with Author Bright Light Blank trying to take up the spotlight, sorry but Lovie Ron better coaches, but it will be good to see falcons fans eat humble pie. GO COWBOYS

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

@Chi Ali You've definitely shown your intelligence with that well written comment.

ORLDawg
ORLDawg

@Chi Ali We're going to run all over your Cowboys, just like you're run-on sentence!

PPsprinkles
PPsprinkles

@Chi Ali Did a Cowboys fan just accuse another team's owner of trying to take up the spotlight?  Seriously?

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

When they get AP I will pick them to win it all also!

OriginalATLien
OriginalATLien

How is there only 3 games outside of the Eastern Time Zone when the Falcons play at Dallas, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Tennessee? Me counts 4 and that's without looking at the schedule again to see if there are any more.

mdhenshaw
mdhenshaw

The Panthers lost Hardy after game 2 and had a nightmare shortage on their offensive line. They played 13 new players and then won 5 out of their last 6 games. They then pushed the Seahawks until the 4th quarter. 

There's no reason to believe the Panthers won't be better next season. They should be way better than the rest of the division.