The initiation of the Mike Smith (Coach)/Matt Ryan (Quarterback) era in Atlanta has led many to invest high hopes into their organization. In their inaugural season, these two contributed heavily in its 2008, 11-5 win/loss record. Although the season concluded in a wildcard playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the “Dirty Birds” walked away with some things to build on. Smith was named coach of the year, Ryan earned top rookie honors and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff became the 2008 Executive of the year.

Every season afterwards, the Falcons were picked by many as the sexy choice to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. With the exception of 2009 (the lone, non-playoff season under this era), the furthest the Falcons advanced throughout the playoffs was the division round in 2010, where they were waylaid 48-21 by the Green Bay Packers.

Fast Forward to 2012!  Atlanta resides atop the NFL perch as the league’s only undefeated team. Individual, contributing factors to Atlanta’s early success include Matt Ryan’s 98.8 passer rating, Roddy White’s 553 receiving yards and Thomas DeCoud’s four interceptions. As an offensive unit, they are 22nd in the league in total offense. Defensively, they’re the fifth worst unit against the run.

So how are they blemish-free in the loss column? Is it heart? Grit? Frustration with early playoff exits?  Whatever the motive is, it’s working well for them.

Of course, I’m not bold enough to project an undefeated regular season for the Falcons, but I am curious as to how they’ll respond to a loss when the time comes. Should they shake it/them off and harvest more wins, will this finally be the season that the Dirty Birds soar further into their postseason excursion?

Until their postseason quest comes to fruition, let’s see how they, along with the rest of the league fare in week eight. With that said, here we go:

Vikings over Buccaneers

Bears over Panthers

Browns over Chargers

Seahawks over Lions

Packers over Jaguars

Colts over Titans

Rams over Patriots

Dolphins over Jets

Falcons over Eagles

Redskins over Steelers

Chiefs over Raiders

Giants over Cowboys

Broncos over Saints

49ers over Cardinals

At 9-4 in week seven, I can only hope to soar myself.  Enjoy the games, and let’s do it again next week.

By Antoine Hoffman

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