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Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Updated: July 7, 2006, 1:40 PM ET Falcons should be back in playoff hunt By Len Pasquarelli ESPN.com ATLANTA -- For lack of a better handle, and in the absence of creativity while recovering from five days of battling the ...

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Old 07-07-2006, 04:10 PM   #1
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Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

Updated: July 7, 2006, 1:40 PM ET


Falcons should be back in playoff hunt

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com


ATLANTA -- For lack of a better handle, and in the absence of creativity while recovering from five days of battling the crazed crowds that packed the Las Vegas hotels and casinos for the Fourth of July weekend, let's call them "rebound" teams.

They are, by the arbitrary definition we've created, franchises that advanced to the playoffs one season, failed to qualify for the Super Bowl tournament the next year but then rebounded into the postseason derby in the third season of the three-year cycle.

Since 1992, the third year of such a cycle after the NFL's adoption of the 12-team playoff format in 1990, there have been 29 rebound teams. In a 14-year span, that's a little more than two per season, and only in 2001 were there no rebound franchises. Ten of the 29 rebound teams since 1992 advanced to the conference championship game. Three rebound teams have gone to the Super Bowl, and one, the New England Patriots in 2003, claimed a championship.

In three of the four campaigns since 2001, there were three rebound teams, and there have been 10 in the past four seasons.

No reason to assume, given the volatility of the NFL and the fact that only four franchises since 2000 have failed to qualify for at least one playoff berth, that there won't be a few rebound teams this season, right?

There are, given the criteria, seven clubs that are candidates for rebound status in 2006: Atlanta, Green Bay, Minnesota, the New York Jets, Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Diego. All made the postseason in 2004, and the Eagles played in Super Bowl XXXIX. All flopped relatively miserably in 2005, with the seven teams averaging only 6.6 victories and three of the clubs finishing in last place in their divisions.

But recent history suggests that, as badly as those seven franchises performed in 2005, some of them will emerge as rebound teams in '06. Our favorite (drumroll, please) for likely rebound status: Although there might be some residual delirium from the 106-degree temperatures that baked Las Vegas the past week (don't ever buy into that hackneyed "but it's a dry heat" malarkey), our choice is the Atlanta Falcons, a club that seems, in our estimation, to have been undersold in the run-up to training camp.

In one of the most anomalous and certainly ignominious records in the history of any professional sport, the Falcons have never posted consecutive winning campaigns in the 40-year history of the franchise. So, which of coach Jim Mora's first two seasons on the job was the aberration? His 2004 debut campaign, in which the Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game? Or the 2005 season, in which the Falcons won only twice in the second half of the year to finish 8-8 and in third place in the NFC South, and in which the engaging but also erratic Mora seemed to be his own worst enemy with a series of sideline meltdowns?

The truth about the Falcons, who are under intense pressure from ownership to win big in 2006, probably lies somewhere in the middle of those two polarized performances. The consequence of owner Arthur Blank's offseason spending and the all the defensive renovations promulgated by general manager Rich McKay and Mora could be, even in what figures to be a fiercely contended NFC South, a rebound return to postseason play.


Story continues....
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...len&id=2511977

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Old 07-07-2006, 04:18 PM   #2
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

I think we're the toughest division in football. I can definately see the Falcons return to form with their significant upgrade on defense. It's going to be a sack festival over there and if Vick and learn how to manage a game, I can see them deep in the playoffs. Falcons will finish either first or second in our division, probably second to Carolina, and I think the wild card will come from our division also. I think Tampa is going to take a step backwards and finish somewhere around .500 as will the Saints.
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:10 PM   #3
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

As long as the Falcons have Vick as their QB they will never have success, coaches figured Vick out, it showed last year that teams know how to stop him, Vick is so overrated it's not funny.
I am worried though about Carolina & Tampa
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:17 AM   #4
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playing madden the other day, vick got beat out by m. schuab for the starting job during simulation mode (I THOUGHT IT WAS THE BEST MOVE OF THE YEAR)
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Old 07-08-2006, 09:25 AM   #5
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

Carolina and Tampa are going to be good this year....If Carolina can effectively incorporate all their new offensive peieces and fit in a decent enough replacement for that DT, I forget his name, that went to the Rams I think they will be tough...Tampa is who Iam worried about in our division, another year for them to work in The Caddy and a full offseason and training camp for Simms, a healthy Clayton and Galloway, that offense is going to be a juggernaut if they pull it together....I think the best way to play them will be to have a 8-man defensize backfield...WHEW, good thing we went and got those safeties...

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Old 07-08-2006, 10:03 AM   #6
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

We are in the toughest division. we have the 2nd worse record and last place in the division. only to be rewarded with the 2 or 3 toughest schedual next year.
I hope Atlanta, Tampa, And Carolina all have a years like green bay had last year. Injury filled.
If they let Vick be Vick and not a pocket passer they will do good. No superbowl though
Tampa is in the middle of a youth movement so I have no idea how good they will be. But they will not lay down for a game that I am sure of.
Carolina scares me. The D just keeps getting better up front hard to believe. They are now working on the Offense. I like the moves here. maybe not this year but if they repeat the moves next year that they made this off season watch out.
NFC South will not be in the Super Bowl. Maybe Carolina will make it to the NFC title game.
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Old 07-08-2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

If Carolina gets their running game going and be effective with it they will be tough to beat, but with Foster being the starter there doesn't look good for them.
Is Goings still with them?, I bet he'll never forget that knockout blow last year.
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Old 07-08-2006, 03:14 PM   #8
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RE: Falcons Should Be Back in Playoff Hunt (Espn.com)

Goings isnt gonna matter, they drafted a first round running back this year. Deangelo Williams is his name i believe and he is suppose to be a stud. it wont be long (maybe 3-4 wks) before he will be starting b/c Foster will go down with injury
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