It’s not like I see anyone dramatically better and it’s hard to argue with putting the league’s only undefeated team at No. 1. But my opinion is based largely on what I’ve seen the Falcons the last three weeks. They’ve needed last-minute drives to win against bad teams.
But let’s take a look at this Insider post by Football Outsiders. I go by sense and feel, but the Football Outsiders go by hard numbers and they’re coming up with the same conclusion I am about the Falcons.
They point out several things that throw rain on Atlanta’s parade, starting with the fact the teams the Falcons have beaten are a combined 12-22 and none has a winning record. It also is pointed out that only two of Atlanta’s future opponents have winning records at the moment.
Football Outsiders also points out the shortcomings of Atlanta’s running game. It would be nice to have a running game, but I’m not sure this is all that big a deal. The Falcons came into the season wanting to be more of a passing team and they’re accomplishing that.
But, if you’re looking for a flaw that could really bring down the Falcons in the postseason, Football Outsiders has it. It points out how Denver’s Willis McGahee, Washington’s Alfred Morris and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles and Carolina’s multi-faceted backfield all had an easy time running on the Falcons.
If they finally are going to win a postseason game in the Mike Smith era, the Falcons are going to have to improve at stopping the run.
They’ll get some relief soon when defensive tackle Corey Peters comes off the physically unable to perform list. Peters will help, but I’m not sure he solves everything.
If the Falcons really want to go far into the postseason, coordinator Mike Nolan better start finding ways to make the run defense better.