The signal caller has been the driving force behind an offense that has frequently ranked in the top half of the National Football League (NFL) in points scored. But, prolific offenses are a good way to amass wins in the regular season, not in the playoffs. So the Falcons, always dangerous when playing games from September through December, have been losing early in the postseason and failing to play deep into the playoffs.
Team management has recognized the need to “beef up the squad’s defense” and has managed to do that through free agent acquisitions and solid draft selections that included first round draft pick Vic Beasley. The result of the improvement in player personnel on defense has manifested itself in that group’s performance in the nine games this team has played so far in the 2015-2016 Season.
The Falcons have a Won-Loss record of 6-3 and find themselves in second place behind the unbeaten Carolina Panthers, just two-and-one-half games out of first place.. While winning divisional honors may already be unlikely, the team from the “gateway to the south” has an excellent chance of securing one of the two Wild Cards available to teams in the NFC. In fact, if the season ended today, Atlanta would receive an invitation to the postseason.
But the Falcons still have seven games left to play and winning as many of those games as possible should be priority number one. This squad will score enough to win most games. It has already proven that Matt Ryan and his supporting cast can “put points on the board.”
But it is Atlanta’s defense that should assure a trip to the postseason for this rugged group of players. The Falcons allow an average of just twenty-one points per game, a number that places them in the top half of the league defensively. Importantly, the team’s front seven makes it difficult for opposing running backs to find holes. This group limits rushing yardage by foes to just 88.89 yards per game.
Those numbers are good enough to help Atlanta emerge victorious in the majority of the games it plays. However, the Falcons’ defense does more to help this team win. For example, it corrals 1.58 turnovers (interceptions and fumbles recovered) per game, gives up a manageable two hundred fifty-three passing yards per game and allows opponents only 5.44 yards per play, a number that is below the league average.
When one considers that the Falcons are solid offensively and able to score lots of points against just about any opponent, it becomes apparent that the addition of a solid defense makes this squad formidable.
Atlanta appears to be headed to the postseason in January. Its combination of a potent offense and a stout defense may be enough to keep it around deep into the playoffs.
Courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons