Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers will be this year's Falcons - TD sports debate p1


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.

Arizona Cardinals
Chicago Bears
Kansas City Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles
San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
Washington Redskins

Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
Oakland Raiders
Seattle Seahawks
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.

[Part two - 49ers hit bottom in 2014]

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Colin Kaepernick Houston Texans NFL Nfl Playoffs San Francisco 49ers

  • Terry Doyle

    Let’s see, Jim Harbaugh has taken the Niners in his 3 years to the NFC title game twice and the Superbowl once, taking over from a Mike Singletary team that went 6-10. This team is at least that good. Plus the Niners have a good GM in Baalke and more draft choices, I believe, than just about anyone else.

    So, will the Niners fall off a cliff this year? No.

    • Depetriu

      Pete Carroll won a Super Bowl in that time. And their only challenger at home was a defense that thoroughly snuffed Russell (and an unlucky Hauschka miss.)

      I would say that if the Cards can upgrade from Carson Palmer or at least rediscover some of his pre-injury magic, they’ll easily win the wild card over the 9ers. The 9ers won’t fall off a cliff per se, but the Cards were THIS close to the Playoffs and Arians will finally push them over the threshold with the 9ers barely missing it at best.

      • Terry Doyle

        Sure, it’s not a cake-walk for anyone, including the SeaChickens. But the 49ers will do well. Not clear to me whether CK7 can take them to the SB and win.

  • Steve Batchelor

    I’ll go all in…Dan…I agree with you on the 49ers…Problems in the front office…problems with the players…getting older…recent drafts haven’t been all that great…

    My pick as the 2nd team to go 1st to worst is the Panthers. Great defense…going to be hard to match what they did last year…While Gettleman has made some rather stupid moves on the offensive side IMO…Cam is going to find it very hard to move the ball with no receivers.

    My worst to 1st’s will be Buc’s and I’ll get back to ya on this one…lol

  • modsuperstar

    People predict the demise of the Patriots all the time. But they just reload and keep on rolling. Belichick doesn’t like to lose and finds ways to get more out of his players year in and year out. I view the 49ers in this way. Harbaugh simply doesn’t like to lose and will circle the wagons after this horrible offseason.

    While it has been a sideshow, the club has gotten better at WR with Crabtree healthy, Boldin back and Brandon Lloyd in for the always injured Mario Manningham. It’s expected they will address their corner issues early in the draft, so that’s a tossup really as to whether they’re better. Marcus Lattimore has the potential talent-wise to force his way into the lineup and make the transition away from Gore a little less painful. I also think Kaepernick is still young and has room to improve as QB that can make up for some deficiencies in the team.

    Bringing it back to the Pats comparison we’ve seen them pull it together twice after sideshow offseasons, the Spygate one where they proceeded to go 16-0 and last season where they had the Aaron Hernandez fiasco and Gronk being injured most of the year, yet still they were one of the best in the AFC. Strong coaches use adversity to fuel performance. Harbaugh will channel that.