As the matchup against the Falcons nears for Detroit, I exchanged some questions with Dave the Falconer, from The Falcoholic, in order to get a better look at the opposition. You can find my answers to his questions over at his blog. Here's the responses to 5 questions I asked about Atlanta.
Pride of Detroit: How has the added attack of Mike Vick's now-found passing game changed the way Atlanta has played this season?
The Falconer: It's really added a new dimension. Everyone was talking about the dominance of our rushing attack at the beginning of the season, but everyone knows that teams that can only do one thing on offense well regularly sputter down the stretch. A balanced offense is a big asset for a playoff team, and the Falcons certainly are exhibiting signs of having one. This is going to inevitably cost Norwood and Dunn some carries, but that's something I can live with.
Pride of Detroit: At the midpoint of the season, what would you rate the Falcons' chances of making and advancing in the playoffs?
The Falconer: Sitting at 5-2 with two games against the Lions and the Browns (no offense), the Falcons should be sitting at
7-2 after this. I would assume they split the Ravens/Saints two game set, and then beat TB and Washington. At that point, you're looking at 10-3 going into the final stretch, where they could lose all three games and probably make the playoffs. Will it work out exactly that way? I seriously doubt it, but the Falcons are still in a good position to make the playoffs. Once they get there...well, if Vick's still throwing well, they have potential to at least make the Conference Championship. If not, maybe not so much.
Pride of Detroit: Have the Falcons exceeded your preseason expectations this season?
The Falconer: Not really. Coming off a not so great season, it's only natural that the Pendulum Birds would swing the other way. Vick and the receiving corps have been better than I expected, which is a big time plus, but the running game and the defense has stood about where I was. Koenen was a major disappointment as the kicker, and Morten Andersen is just old, so special teams still makes me nervous. Overall, I'd say they've exceeded expectations I had for them.
Pride of Detroit: Other than Mike Vick, what other one player is vital to Atlanta's success already this season and down the road?
The Falconer: I'll split this one down the middle. On offense, it's going to be Warrick Dunn, who is just short of an elite level back and must continue to be if the team is going to do well. Honorable mention goes to Alge Crumpler, who is proving his status as an elite tight end in the NFL. On the defensive side of the ball, DeAngelo Hall is the trash talking, taunting lifeblood of the secondary, and with Jason Webster opposite him, he really had better continue to do his job well.
Pride of Detroit: What is your prediction on how the Falcons will finish off both the regular season and possibly the playoffs?
The Falconer: Damn, I have to make a prediction. I can feel this going wrong as I type it. My final guess would be 10-6 for the Falcons in the regular season, with a loss in the conference championship. If Vick is a monster for the rest of the season, let's say loss in the Super Bowl.
Thanks again to Dave the Falconer for exchanging questions with me, and good luck to Atlanta this weekend.