I have been saying all season that the Atlanta Falcons are a mediocre team (at best) on both sides of the ball, and that conclusion is substantiated by five weeks of data that establishes that the Falcons are below-average from the line of scrimmage. While I will be the first to admit that I lost an investment on Atlanta last night (25-14 loss to Green Bay as 6-point underdogs), that selection was primarily based upon strong technical analysis, including a very good 23-1 ATS situation that favored the Falcons. However, until Atlanta improves its play from the line of scrimmage, the Falcons remains a ‘play against’ team for the remainder of the regular season, especially since the betting public continues to believe that starting quarterback Matt Ryan is good.
Atlanta Falcons’ Offense:
Atlanta is averaging 20.8 points per game this season, including 4.3 yards per rush attempt, 6.1 yards per pass attempt and 5.4 yards per play against teams that combine to allow 24.5 points per game, 4.3 yards per rush play, 7.5 yards per pass play and 6.2 yards per play to mediocre offensive squads. Overall, the Falcons are 3.7 points per game, 1.4 yards per pass attempt and 0.8 yards per play worse than average offensively this season, which is not indicative of a 2-3 team. In fact, Atlanta should be 1-4 on the season after being dominated by Philadelphia in Week Two as the Eagles maintained a 447-318-yard advantage, but ultimately lost due to three turnovers. Moreover, quarterback Matt Ryan continues to underperform as he is 1.4 yards per pass attempt worse than average this season, which is beyond terrible for an NFL quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons’ Defense:
If you thought Atlanta’s offense was bad, the Falcons’ defense is even worse. Indeed, Atlanta is allowing 26 points per game this season, including 8.3 yards per pass attempt and 6.3 yards per play to teams that combine to average just 23.9 points per game, 7.0 yards per pass play and 6.0 yards per play against mediocre defensive squads. Overall, Atlanta’s secondary is an alarming 1.3 yards per pass play worse than average in 2011, while the Falcons are 0.3 yards per play worse than average defensively from the line of scrimmage. Even more shocking is the fact that the Falcons are yielding 9.0 yards per pass attempt and 6.9 yards per play at home, which immediately eliminates any delusion of home field advantage.
The foregoing statistics establish the fact that Atlanta is a below-average NFL team that has very little chance of making the playoffs. And, with the betting public continuing to believe that Matt Ryan and the Falcons are good, we should have investment value fading the Falcons for the remainder of the 2011 NFL season.
Oskeim Sports Consulting, LLC