Atlanta Falcons: This Year Feels Different Than Last And That’s OK

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Andre Roberts
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Andre Roberts /

The Atlanta Falcons (3-1) limp into their bye week this week. For some reason, even with the same record, 2017 feels different than last year.

Go ahead and take a day Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons go into today’s bye week looking the same on the outside, but feeling completely different. It is natural to compare the 2016 and 2017 teams. And while some of those differences don’t feel as good, things aren’t as bad as some fear.

My colleague, Kit Anderson, had it right the other day. The bye has come at a good time. That statement, in itself, is a strange thing. I’ve never considered it ideal to have a bye week in Week 5 of a 17 week season. It is usually preferable to get it more towards the center of the schedule, or even later if the team is riding a hot streak, to thwart the grind.

But Atlanta is already banged up. If you had told me, at the beginning of the year, that our Falcons would be missing Schraeder, Beasley, Julio Jones, and Sanu for extended periods of time, and that they would be (3-1), I would’ve wagered money against that. If you had told me that in those 4 games, Matt Ryan would have five interceptions, in addition to those injuries, and that they would be (3-1), I would’ve wagered large sums possibly. It doesn’t make sense.

More from ATL All Day

But here we are. All of those things are true. That queasy feeling fans are getting is the way they got to that record. Ryan’s INTs are incredibly worrisome. The injuries are worrisome in a long season, but they are temporary, and those players should be back soon. Some pointed to an uninspired performance in last week’s loss at home to Buffalo. “Where is the sense of urgency like last year?”, some ponder.

All valid. If you dig down into the numbers, though, things aren’t as bad as they might feel. The Offense is a little worse (down 7 points per game) and the Defense is a little better (down about 3 points per game). That’s encouraging considering the changes at both Coordinator’s positions in the off-season. The disruption could’ve been much worse.

And it has to be said, The Atlanta Falcons haven’t played great ball in 2017. But, they are (3-1) and with a Carolina loss today, will be leading the NFC South.

The NFL season is a long, arduous, gravity-laden slog that is physical and enervating. Every team needs to luck to win. Thus far, Atlanta has managed, while not playing well, to put themselves in the exact same position as last year. Yes, in 2016 at this point, Atlanta was (3-1). They had a bad early loss last year, as well.

Next: Georgia Bulldogs: Lots Of Outside Activity Around Vanderbilt Game

It just feels different. And that’s OK.  That said, the bye week needs to be productive and positive. You only get one.