The story went that there was a hole in the roof at Texas Stadium because God liked to watch his favorite football team play on Sunday. Last year it felt as though a supreme power was helping the Denver Broncos. Despite experts and fans alike chiding the skills of QB Tim Tebow things just sort of worked out week-after-week. This year something funny is going on in Atlanta. No hole in the roof, and no Tebow, maybe somebody is putting something special in the soul food.
Sunday night fans witnessed what they have been accustomed to seeing with the Falcons this year. A below .500 team appearing to be better than Atlanta only to shoot themselves in the foot. This week it was Dallas, playing anemic offense for more than three quarters, settling for Field Goals, rarely converting on third down, consistently whiffing on key tackles, and still looking like the better team for much of the contest.
Before we hear the cries of how great the Falcon defense is, it is the same unit that gave up 28 points to Carolina at home and were toasted by Raider QB Carson Palmer for 353 yards. Of eight opponents that Atlanta has beaten, six rank 16th or worse in points per game with four teams among the bottom eight in the league.
Atlanta has beaten eight teams with a combined record of 24-40. The Falcons are likely to play only one playoff team the remainder of the season. Their next five games feature Arizona, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and New Orleans twice. The Falcons very well could be 13-0 when they host the Giants on December 16.
You can only beat the teams that are on your schedule, and Atlanta has done that. However, for having the best record in the league it is surprising that they rank 8th in offense, and 19th in total defense. One huge key has been only seven giveaways in eight games. Only Houston has fewer turnovers than Atlanta this season.
In 2010 the Falcons went 13-3 during the regular season before being blown out at home in their playoff game against Green Bay. Of 16 regular season games that year, seven of them were against playoff teams. That Falcon team played half of their contests against opponents who won 10 games are more. Atlanta was better in 2010 than 2012. This year’s version is luckier. It's better to be lucky than good.