Every NFL season one team falls off a cliff. Last year the Texans and Falcons held the honor, but who will be this year’s Falcons? Things are looking bleak in San Francisco. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.
In 2012, the Atlanta Falcons went 13-3 on their way to the NFC South division title. That same season, the Houston Texans went 12-4 while winning the AFC South.
In 2013, the Falcons and Texans combined to win just six games. A nine and 10-win decrease respectively seems unfathomable for any team to make in just one season. However, in the NFL, flipping from worst to first or flopping from first to worst is hardly out of the ordinary.
Whether because of inconsistencies, major changes or just injuries, the line in this league between great and ordinary is so narrow. With that in mind, who is this year’s Falcons or Texans? If I tell you that someone will lose nine more games in 2014 than they did in 2013, who would you pick?
Oh wow, let the hate mail start flowing right now. I’m singling out the Atlanta Falcons for this analogy, as they not only plummeted from 2012 to 2013 in the wins category, but were also in the playoffs four out the previous five seasons from 2008 through 2012 (three straight from 2010 to 2012). The Falcons also had double digit wins in all four of those playoff seasons, maintaining a winning record in the only year they missed during that five year stretch. The Texans may have made a similar fall, but Atlanta jumped from a much higher building.
For this analogy we need to look at teams with double digit wins in 2013. The list isn’t as long as you would think. Here are our contenders for this upcoming season’s Atlanta Falcons:
NFC: Eagles, Panthers, Saints, Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals
AFC: Patriots, Bengals, Colts, Broncos, Chiefs
That is a pretty stout list of powerful teams, yet as you noted, one of them is falling off a cliff. This year’s Atlanta Falcons will be… the San Francisco 49ers.
Now I’ll try to explain, as this team from a distance looks just as stacked as last season when they lost in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers have quite possibly peaked. Their defense won’t be nearly as dominant, especially if Aldon Smith is lost for the year. Colin Kaepernick is an injury away from being mediocre. And have you been paying attention to the rest of their division? The Seahawks will be very good again. The Cardinals surprised people last season, but won’t be surprising anyone this year with their winning ways. And in St. Louis it appears the Rams have finally figured things out. There is no easy opponent on the 49ers division schedule. Let’s expand things out and look at their entire schedule, which pits them against some tough opponents week after week after week.
Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers
St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
St. Louis Rams
There is a grand total of one ‘easy’ game on the 49ers schedule, their matchup with the Raiders. Unfortunately for San Francisco, the game is being played in the Black Hole of Oakland. I give San Francisco wins over Arizona, the Chargers, Raiders, and Cowboys. They’re in for a rough season.