The Falcons' potentially fatal flaws

Atlanta must correct problems on the ground or 6-0 start may mean little

Originally Published: October 16, 2012
By Vince Verhei | Football Outsiders
Matt RyanAP Photo/Gregory BullA 6-0 start won't mean much for Matt Ryan and Co. in the playoffs.

With the newest set of ESPN's NFL Power Rankings released Tuesday, the Atlanta Falcons are perched on top of the pile. As the NFL's lone undefeated team, they're an easy selection. Unless you view the Falcons the way we do at Football Outsiders.

Our newest set of DVOA rankings will be published Tuesday afternoon, and they're going to have the Falcons way down in eighth place. This is a very good team, but a flawed one, and even in victory they've shown too many weaknesses to be considered the best team in the league.

The Football Outsiders rankings aren't based on opinion polls -- they're based on DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), a proprietary system that evaluates every play of the NFL season one at a time and adjusts for down, distance, score, quality of opposition and other factors. There is no vote, there is no debate, only the results of a mathematical formula. And that formula sees plenty of black marks on Atlanta's résumé.


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