Football Outsiders: The Falcons will slip to 7-9 but be a better team

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (81) takes part in drills during NFL rookie minicamp football in Flowery Branch, Ga. Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Dan Quinn, back at work. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

It would be incorrect to say that Football Outsiders has nailed every recent Atlanta Falcons prediction. (It would be wrong to say that anyone in the history of humankind has nailed every prediction. Even Nostradamus had the Colts over the Jets.) That said, the erudite website has come mighty close. A recap:

In 2013, Football Outsiders projected the Falcons to slide from 13-3 to last in the NFC South. (They actually tied for last with Tampa Bay.) In 2014, it forecast a rise from 4-12 to mediocrity. (The Falcons finished 6-10. Close enough.) Last season, Football Outsiders picked the Men of Blank to win 10 games and make the playoffs. (And they should’ve, given that they started 6-1. Alas, they finished 8-8.)

This time around, Football Outsiders sees … slippage, at least record-wise.

In a post for ESPN Insider, F.O. editor/creator Aaron Schatz tabs the Falcons to go 7-9 and be the third-best team in their division (behind Carolina and New Orleans) and 10th-best in the NFC. Technically, Schatz’ numbers have both the Falcons going 7-9, and the Panthers going only 9-7. (From years of observation, I can report that data-based predictions tend to bunch toward the middle. This year F.O. sees no team in either conference winning or losing more than 12 games.)

Schatz on the Falcons: “Atlanta was a bit lucky last year, going 8-8 despite ranking just 26th in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average, which is F.O.’s proprietary measuring tool). Our forecast essentially says the Falcons are likely to have a worse record despite being a better team. The defense still won’t be very good, but the offense should rebound to a level closer to past years — slightly above average.”

Not for the first time with a Football Outsiders projection, I say: Sounds about right. The Falcons should be improved in Year 2 under Dan Quinn than in Year 1. (If they’re not, something is amiss.) Their schedule, however, is a bear — tied with San Francisco as the NFL’s worst. They’d have to be really stout just to break .500.

Last year the Falcons, who wound up playing the league’s second-softest schedule, weren’t as good as their record. This year they figure to be better than their record. Maybe in 2017 amid the opulence of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will the twain meet.

Further Falconalia:

Meet the guy who didn’t hate the Falcons’ draft.

The Falcons’ Quinn wanted a safety. He got one.

Quinn’s Falcons go-safety-first, and I’m fine with that.

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
Billy2121
Billy2121

This team wins 4 or 5 games tops... They suck, have no D and have a brutal schedule! 

J Mac
J Mac

i already gave them 9-7..this year but miss the playoffs again. hope im wrong

David Tanner
David Tanner

always get the feeling that CDQ just not the sharpest tool in the shed

Gris Julian GP
Gris Julian GP

Agreed. We will have one of the best defenses in the league by Week 4! No doubt in my mind. Offensively, we still need quality replacements for Turner and Gonzalez. But that can be worked out as well. And who knows, the offense might surprise us.

SaulK
SaulK

7-9 and better??? classic!  only in loserville atlanta do local homer writers come up with this nonsense

RogerHenslee
RogerHenslee

@HadleyV You do know that Mark was reporting what Football Outsiders wrote? They are not local homer writers. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Is there any current standings on the Fulmer Award?....the sad thing is if Chauncey was an Auburn player he would have been called a thug about 6 dozens times by now?

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

Chauncey is a thug! There you happy jacket?...oh yeah not possible....by the way..we got plenty of other thugs to replace him so don't get your hopes up for late November.....

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Harlemdawg And another thing....I'm not referring to him as a thug!.....just a young man making some poor decisions. You guys are the ones who like the thug word.

slydawg
slydawg

And these same so called experts said the same thing in 2009

TOJacket
TOJacket

@slydawg Exactly Sly............he doesn't know Jerry Shat....or his brother Jack!

slydawg
slydawg

And all the experts said the same thing back in 2009

OH:IO
OH:IO

FIRE SCHANNY!