The Atlanta Falcons haven’t won 10 games or been to the playoffs since 2017. CBS Sports’ Will Brinson predicted the Falcons to reach both of those feats this fall.
“Color me bullish on the Falcons this season, even with the QB depth chart consisting of Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heineicke,” wrote Brinson. “This roster has a real Titans-esque feel to it if the defensive veterans improve things on that side and Bijan Robinson can be a true workhorse.
“The Falcons actually fell to 3-4 at one point when I went through their schedule before ripping off a slew of wins. If they come out hot, this schedule sets up really well.”
That’s an understatement.
The Falcons only face one team who had a winning record last year after Week 4. Furthermore, none of their final eight opponents won nine games last season.
Now, opponent’s records from the previous season can be a bit overblown when analyzing schedules. By Week 10 when they visit the Arizona Cardinals, that could be a difficult game if quarterback Kyler Murray bounces back in 2023. But the Cardinals were 4-13 last season.
Furthermore, after Thanksgiving, the Falcons will square off against four division opponents. Their final two games will also be on the road.
None of that is “easy.” But Brinson is correct that the Falcons could set themselves up for a 10-win season with a fast start. Their first division title since 2016 would be possible too.
But the Falcons have played poorly in September since they last made the postseason. Over the past five years, they own a 4-14 record in September.
That’s the main reason why the Falcons haven’t held a record above the .500 mark at any point since making the playoffs in 2017.
Under current head coach Arthur Smith, Atlanta is 2-4 in September. They have pulled even at .500 five times over the last two seasons. But in all five games, they failed to win to move above .500.
The last time Atlanta won the NFC South was when the team won the conference championship during the 2016 season.