Four weeks ago Atlanta Falcons fans could not believe what they were witnessing. A 5-0 football team with a rookie head coach and an offense that looked as good as any unit to ever don the red and black. With the team on its bye week, the story is a lot different. Atlanta has lost its last three games and has lost its way – searching for answers on both offense and defense.
The team looks a lot like the one fielded last season, which has the media and the coaching staff a bit puzzled. This is a better franchise, but a three-game slide has them clinging to the final playoff spot in the NFC, should the season end right now.
A winning season and a playoff berth would be magical this holiday season, but it only masks the issues this team is facing, mainly how to get back the momentum it had to start 2015.
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I do think Dan Quinn and company have a long-term plan for this franchise, but much like the 2008 Falcons, their surprising early success means they're in the playoff hunt before they maybe anticipated being there, said Dave Choate of thefalcoholic.com. “You can't sacrifice future gains for short-term lifts, and the Falcons wisely didn't give away draft picks or young players at the deadline to bolster their playoff hopes."
The fact this team might not have a plan for the future may be the plan after all. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians, the desire to plan too far ahead may leave fans and management wanting too much too soon.
The Falcons are an enigma if there ever was one, with a running attack led by Devonta Freeman, and a passing offense that continues to dazzle with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones playing pitch and catch. If you are looking for a reason to be optimistic of the second half, there are a few things to consider.
Improvement from White
"Working in the team's favor is that relatively easy schedule, though the Vikings and Panthers add a significant degree of difficulty to the last seven games," Choate explains.
Players who have been out of the lineup return to the team, including wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.
And while Jones has dazzled with his pass catching ability, more will be needed from Roddy White – who has had issues with the coaching staff over his role with this team.
Should they win four of their last seven games, they will be 10-6, good enough in most cases for a playoff berth and as they say, who knows what happens next. Even with the need to find the winning mojo again, this team is still in a fairly solid place in the NFC South and the conference.
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