Football Outsiders: The Falcons will go 10-6 in 2015

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Playoff-bound? Thomas Dimitroff, Vic Beasley, Dan Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Where the Atlanta Falcons are concerned, Football Outsiders is on a roll. The erudite web site was correct in predicting that the Falcons would plunge from the 13-3 of 2012 to the bottom of the NFC South in 2013, correct again in suggesting that last year’s team would do better than the 4-12 of 2013 without quite being good. (Sure enough, the 2014 Falcons finished 6-10.)

Comes now, in the form of an ESPN Insider post, the latest forecast from Football Outsiders, and it’s a sunny one for the local eleven (or the local 53, if you insist on accuracy). The Falcons are projected to go 10-6, which would be a four-game improvement over last season and would, according to F.O., leave them tied atop the NFC South with New Orleans.

Having the NFL’s softest schedule will have something to do with it, but not everything. Writes Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders’ editor-in-chief:

(An) important element of our NFC South forecast is the fact that offense tends to be more consistent than defense from year to year. Atlanta and New Orleans were strong on offense and terrible on defense a year ago. Those defenses are more likely to improve than the offenses are to decline.

Even though the F.O. numbers have the Falcons and Saints tied, Schatz seems higher on the former, writing:

Atlanta’s offense should be better based on improved health (30th in offensive adjusted games lost in 2014) and the maturation of a top young offensive tackle (Jake Matthews). Even these numbers may be underestimating the importance of the players the Saints lost due to salary-cap issues, or the addition in Atlanta of our top projected rookie edge rusher, Vic Beasley.

In a pre-draft ESPN Insider post, Football Outsiders indeed earmarked Beasley as the top sacking prospect of this class. Wrote Nathan Forster: “Beasley gives you almost everything you want in an edge-rusher prospect.” The F.O. projection for Beasley — 34.1 sacks through Year 5, which would be an average of 6.82, which the Falcons would take in a heartbeat. (Though Beasley wouldn’t; on Draft Night, he called himself “a double-digit sack guy.”)

Reader Comments 2

44 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

Did they actually say the Falcons last year were "strong on offense?

They must have a different football definition of "strong" than many observers.

It is better than the defense. But by no means strong, until they get a decent O-Line, running game, Tight End, and more capable and healthy receivers. 

Matt, Julio, and the soon-to-be retired Roddy can't do it all by themselves. Though they've practically had too.

Guyon
Guyon

THE OFFENSIVE LINE WILL BE A WEAK POINT FOR THE FALCONS, AND THEY WILL BE LUCKY TO WIN 8 GAMES.

Dman
Dman

I think we are one more draft and free agent season away from being back to a playoff team. We still have glaring holes on the OLine and the defense is not proven yet with all of the new guys. We will see if the new additions improve us there. I wouldn't be surprised at 9-7 but I'm thinking 8-8 or 7-9...

DogTheMan
DogTheMan

We still need linemen on both sides of the ball. We are still small and relatively slow on defense, especially in the middle. We will be a better tema, but we will not be contending with the big boys anytime soon.

Football Redneck
Football Redneck

I don't know how many games they will win but the coaches seem a lot more competent than the clowns we had the last

few years.This year will tell a lot what direction the Falcons are headed.

Fierce
Fierce

That's what I would say as well, and I won't be shocked to see an 11-5 record either. I think the offense only got better and the defense vastly improved, player wise and coaching wise. We'll see what happens.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Give it a rest on Dimitroff, no one is perfect. but the bottom line is Coaches doing their job and high paid players still playing hard while making big money. Just like Uggla he has entered the end of his contract so he is more focused to continue to play and make big money. It's a business

Dman
Dman

Uggla is hitting below 200 again, he still stinks...

MikeS777
MikeS777

Anyone else still wondering like me how Thomas Dimitroff is in that picture after they fired Mike Smith?  It was Dimitroff's stars and scrubs plan that collapsed the team in the first place near as I can tell.

MikeS777
MikeS777

I can only assume this "easy schedule" is because of the down year the NFC South had.  The Falcons' draw the NFC East his year which has a history of beating up on the Falcons.  The Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles seem to always have the Falcons' number.  Chicago is another that seems to always have our number.  They get San Francisco out of the NFC West which will not be easy, and Minnesota from the NFC North.  Minnesota should be a win, but then they were supposed to be last year before rookie Bridgewater destroyed our defense.  They get the AFC South this year which will include tough games against Indianapolis and Houston.

Year to year, you never know what will happen though.  I think this 10-6 prediction assumes the Falcons already have the pieces in place on defense for Dan Quinn to quickly turn this around.  I'm not at all sure that's the case.

HonchoPoncho
HonchoPoncho

What's the over/under on Blank waving a flag on the sidelines?

rockinreel
rockinreel

The winning season prediction lays heavily on the Defense.  The D was run over last year with hardly any turn overs.  Pass rushers fix a lot of problems, mainly taking away time for opposing QB's to pick us apart.

REGAN1966
REGAN1966

They sound more like Football Idiots.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I don't root against the home town players or teams on the field of play, but the Falcons front office is fast burning off my respect. Laying the blame for losing on the head of Mike Smith, PSLs, NoiseGate, profiting off Veterans' service under a guise of goodwill, these are things that make rooting for anything benefitting the Falcons ownership very difficult indeed.


Yes, with this schedule it is very possible this team could go 10-6, or even better if key players stay healthy and the youngsters develop. I seriously doubt they are any closer to the Super Bowl than they ever were under Smith or could have been again.  If Ryan gets hurt they could go winless, given what they don't have for a backup QB.

Mandrell Perryman
Mandrell Perryman

I am cautiously optimistic about this years squad. If they take on the attitude of the coach, we should see more passion out of this group especially with an infusion of youth. Quinn should have learned from Pete Carroll how not to get in his own way and put players in position to make plays so I can definitely see us improving if the defense can be middle of the pack.  

Intruder
Intruder

No one knows what they will do, but I would not disagree with F.O.-they are pretty damn good.

Gman84
Gman84

Not buying. The roster has been hollowed out by bad drafts and limited payroll after Ryan's huge payday. Signing Julio will only further this. Not signing him means no play-makers and nothing to show for the ridiculous TD trade.


Blank may be a retailing genius but he appears to be a Rankinesque dim-bulb when it comes to running the Falcons. 


Poor Judgement: He was famously bowled over by bratty Jim Mora hauling around a book of quotes to his interview. 

Promoting Incompetents: Recognizing that McKay and TD were both over-matched as GM so he kicked both upstairs 

Embracing Gimmickry: Fake crowd noise, vibrating seats, etc....embarrassing

Egomaniac: Can't get enough of those Bela Lugosi sideline cameos. Loved watching him make out w/ the girlfriend!

skullfrogger
skullfrogger

@Gman84 WHo would you have at quarterback instead of Ryan?  If we hadn't paid him, someone would have.

Gman84
Gman84

@skullfrogger @Gman84


Correct, we had to pay him....that is why you need a lot of good, young cheap talent through the draft. Instead TD has whiffed on too many picks in consecutive drafts and brought in many highly paid under performing free-agents. It's a recipe for the disaster we've seen the last 2 years. 


Smith may have had his problems but TD is far more to blame for this terrible roster than Smith ever was. Sure, fire Smith if you want but if so, you absolutely cannot make a case for TD staying.

YellowBritches
YellowBritches

Are William Andrews and Jesse Tuggle coming back??

AldenS
AldenS

If they go 10-6, it will speak volumes about how bad Smitty really was. I haven't heard, did anyone pick that clown up this year?

Susan89
Susan89

LMAO....NO!  They MIGHT win 3 games..hahahahahahaha!

skullfrogger
skullfrogger

@Susan89 I will bet you $1000 FIRM that we win more than 3 games.  Put your money where your keyboard is, troll.

JSSN
JSSN

@skullfrogger @Susan89

You folks ought to be broke by now! Keep your bets off the blog and just watch the games!

Sage Rain
Sage Rain

You must be a Saints fan....wad!

Borodawg
Borodawg

IF the OL improves (greatly).  IF they get a better pass rush.  Yep, they could go 10-6.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

Ha! Better clock management would have had them to 8 - 8 last year.

RetiredParamedic
RetiredParamedic

Regardless, the 'seat license' thing is BS!  Mama didn't raise no fool.

JackClemens
JackClemens

When I read this, there were 11 comments. Same number as Julio Jones. Hmmmmm.

JackPod
JackPod

10-6? NO. 6-10? more likely.

Already_Older
Already_Older

I may "hope" for the Falcon's success, but will reserve my prayers for things that really matter.    :-)

gfw
gfw

I agree with those who are cautious.  Even with the weak schedule, we have a lot to prove, especially in the areas of OL and TE.  OL coach Chris Morgan, OC Shanahan, and Quinn have no doubt spent many, many hours looking at the tapes.  They must feel they can, with just a tweak here and there, make our current OL personnel dominant through coaching.  We fans are hopeful about that, but we also have a right to be skeptical until we see it.  Trying to coach up mediocre talent was what Mike Smith was faced with for a long time.


And btw, isn't it interesting that the team in our division that was playing the best football at the end, which was the Panthers, wasn't picked higher?

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

The nfl is great at parity or keeping it competitive (depending on your slant). Every team has holes or is about to have some. There are no more 72 dolphins. I believe we can go 10-6. I came to the same conclusion looking at the schedule. Go falcons.

UGA76
UGA76

8-8 because of a very weak schedule.  This team is still a great draft away from being playoff ready.  The offense needs 3 new OL starters, at least 1 and really 2 TEs a power RB and another WR.  The defense still needs another OLB that can rush the passer as well as two new DEs and a S.   . 

SeanLB
SeanLB

@UGA76 Scheme COULD help the Oline.  I believe they intentionally didn't address it because they want to see how the current players adapt.  Why draft a 2nd round guard if you already have guys on the roster that will flourish in that system?  I'm not saying the OLine is great, but I do expect it to be improved despite not really addressing it.  

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@UGA76 A single great draft isn't going to satisfy all of those needs.

ATL89
ATL89

Whoa whoa whoa, pump the brakes on a wining season just yet, the Offensive line is still somewhat of a question mark(?), and if we have no O-line, No Matty Ice, No Matty, and the Falcons go 6-10. Personally, I think the Falcons go 8-8, and next year we'll be 10-6, and possible Post Season birth. Not to mention, we still need to SEE a pass rush.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ATL89

A "wining" season?

Perhaps you mean a "whining" season. You can count on plenty of that.

Postseason "birth"?

Maybe we'll see the birth of postseason success in ATL. Wouldn't that be pleasurable?

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

At least 10-6 or fire Thomas (Blame Smitty) Dimitroff for cause.

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