With the New Orleans Saints coming off of their bye week we wanted to take an in depth, team-by-team look at the NFC South. To many people’s surprise, this division has been relatively competitive in the early goings of the 2020 NFL season.
“Relatively” is the key word here as the Atlanta Falcons can in no way be considered “competitive.” Yes, they blew the Minnesota Vikings out in Week 6 to the tune of 40-23, but this team is still far from being any real threat.
Just prior to the Week 6 matchup, the Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Dimitroff after starting 0-5. Additionally, the team wouldn’t commit to Matt Ryan long term after this season. Atlanta then went on to win against the Vikings and surprisingly, didn’t blow a massive lead late in the game.
There is an interesting trend to note as in 2019 the Falcons started 1-7, moved on from Quinn’s playcalling, and then finished 6-2. In 2020, as soon as Quinn was relieved, the team dropped 40 points on a team that always seems to confound New Orleans. Matt Ryan looked to be in his 2016 MVP form and Julio Jones scored two touchdowns (we will chalk that up to being 2020).
Additionally, Atlanta was boasting the 31st ranked defense in the NFL prior to the Week 6 matchup. It’s been bad. But, the unit was able to intercept Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins on three occasions. Of course they did give up 343 yards through the air. However, they were effective at stopping the run holding the Vikings to just 32 yards on the ground. But, that can be chalked up to being so far behind the entirety of the game.
So, what does this all mean. Well, Atlanta is still 1-5 and their only win has come against a fellow 1-5 team. The defense is still atrocious in nearly every facet. What they have proven is that the combination of Ryan, Jones and Calvin Ridley can, on a good day, really drop some points on an unsuspecting team. The talent on the offense is there.
Naturally, what that means for New Orleans is that this Falcons team will not roll over when they face them in Weeks 11 and 13. Atlanta is notorious for playing up to the Saints, while New Orleans is notorious for stooping to the Falcons level, think Week 9 of the 2020 season.
Looking at the remainder of Atlanta’s schedule, this currently appears to be a 3-15 team. Just enough to ensure they remain out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
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