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Only Five NFL Teams in Complete Control

Atlanta Falcons

Yes, those Atlanta Falcons. The same Falcons that have gone 10-22 over the last two years and found themselves with the 8th pick in the draft. Not only did the Falcons draft high this offseason they also replaced 7-year head coach Mike Smith with former Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn, and with him their entire culture and identity changed. Each of the Falcons three wins came in similar fashion…

Down 23-24, 8:37 min left, Falcons score 3 unanswered, beat Eagles 26-24
Down 17-20, 19:15 min left, Falcons score 7 unanswered, beat Giants 24-20
Down 14-20, 30:40 min left, Falcons score 15 unanswered, beat DemBoyz 39-28

Last season the Falcons were dead last in Defensive DVOA, (Defensive Volume over Average, explanation can be found here). This season they’ve climb all the way up to 13th on that list. Only two teams had less Defensive penalties than the Falcons last season, Jets and Seahawks. However they allowed the highest Yards per game with 398(!), over 131 more yards per game than the Seahawks. That stat can be interpreted in several ways. They way I see it is that the Defense was disciplined by not committing a lot of penalties, but the scheme wasn’t effective at stopping anything. Change of coach, change of scheme, change of plays, effective defense. Let me know if I’m wrong but that can’t be a coincidence.

Then of course there’s the offense, the Falcons are currently 6th in Offensive DVOA. Part of that is Matt Ryan staying up right, last season Ryan was sacked 31 times. Through three games he’s only hit the deck 4 times, on pace to only get sacked 21 times. That’s nice but Julio Jones deserves a lot of the credit here. His numbers are far more impressive.

All of these teams are 3-0, but they’re not the only squads in the NFL who have yet to be vanquished. So why aren’t the Panthers or the Cardinals in ‘complete control’ of their divisions? I’m glad you asked.

What do you think?

Written by Nick Angstadt

Follower of Jesus Christ and aspiring broadcaster/writer. Diehard Lakers fan since birth, NBA Aficionado, tortured Bengals supporter, and situational Reds enthusiast.
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