Falcons Good Enough To Win Super Bowl

The Falcons were a statistical enigma last season, but Chris Dimino expects things to even out in 2018

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September 05, 2018 - 9:06 am

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After reaching the Super Bowl in 2016, the Atlanta Falcons did something in 2017 that likely has never been achieved in the NFL.

“They scored 25 less touchdowns from ’16 to ’17 – they went from 58 to 33 – and only won one fewer game,” Atlanta’s The Fan host Chris Dimino said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I can’t believe that’s ever happened in the history of the NFL. They scored 25 less touchdowns and only lost one game in the standings and went back to the playoffs – and they played Philadelphia tougher than anybody else did.”

Indeed, the Falcons lost at Philly, 15-10, in the divisional round in January. The Eagles bludgeoned Minnesota 38-7 in the NFC Championship and went on to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

“It means (the Falcons) were good enough to be there,” Dimino said. “They had a right to be there. But at the end of the day, until you actually win one, they always have to talk about you as a team that could – instead of one that already has. That’s sort of what they’re dealing with now. You hope it all gets done, lock it up, have the parade before whatever window that really exists in the NFL goes away.”

The Falcons are known for their high-powered offense – for Matt Ryan, for Julio Jones, for Devonta Freeman and others. But the defense was the strength of the team last season. Atlanta finished ninth in total defense and eighth in scoring defense (19.7 points per game allowed) – despite finishing 19th in turnover margin (minus-2). 

“It flies in the face of what happened,” Dimino said. “They did not create enough turnovers last season, and it was really disappointing. If you’re 25 fewer touchdowns and you're minus in the turnover department, you’re not supposed to go to the postseason. They still found a way to win 10 games and go and play Philadelphia nose-to-nose and only give up 15 against them.”

Dimino expects the offense to improve and for the defense to be lights-out.

“Everybody’s got guys that run 4.4, but this team, I think they hit you at 4.4,” he said. “I think some guys run 4.4 and hit you at 4.9. This group runs 4.4 and hits you at 4.4. I just think when push comes to shove, they’re not going to be pushed. I honestly think they’re going to deliver. They’re going to give more shots than they’re going to take. Starting on Thursday night, there’s going to be a couple of footballs on the ground every game. I think that’s the way they coach it. I think that’s the way they attack it. I think this year the numbers flip over to their side.”

The Falcons begin this season just as they ended last season: in Philadelphia. Kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday is slated for 8:20 p.m. ET.