After facing the Colts and Saints in back to back weeks following the team's week 8 bye, the schedule does ease up for the Falcons, if only a little bit. With the Titans, Vikings, Panthers and Jaguars all on the schedule in those five weeks following Saints-mageddon, that's four games Atlanta should be able win if the 2011 Falcons are who we think they are.
The Titans are clearly a team in transition. A new head coach in Mike Munchak, two new coordinators, and a new QB of the future in Jake Locker. However, it's pretty likely this season the Falcons will see vet Matt Hasselbeck leading a Chris Johnson-powered offense. Well, if CJ2K actually signs a contract this season that is.
Record: Finished 6-10, missed playoffs in 2010
Last Meeting: October 7, 2007 (Falcons lost 20-13, despite three Vince Young INT's)
Notable Additions: LB Barrett Ruud, QB Matt Hasselbeck, S Jordan Babineaux, TE Daniel Graham
Notable Losses: QB Kerry Collins, QB Vince Young, WR Randy Moss, LB Stephen Tulloch, LB David Thornton, DE Jason Babin
Regardless if Every Coach's Dream is playing in this one or not, I think the Falcons should be able to handle the Titans. This is really one of the only "easy" games on the schedule, so it's absolutely imperative for Atlanta to take care of business in this one.
While I have no doubt that Munchak is a good coach and should be a good fit for Tennessee, the Titans simply don't have enough options on the offensive side of the ball to do much. The oft-injured Hasselbeck has been pretty mediocre these past few years. If this Falcons defense can shut down the running game (something they've been pretty good at) I wouldn't expect any trouble in this one. Really, it's as simple as that.
The defense wasn't much better last season, either. The unit ranked No. 29 in pass defense in 2010, and that is exactly what Ryan & Co. will attack. I don't want to come off as arrogant and call this one a blowout, as any team is capable of winning on any given Sunday. That's what makes the NFL exciting. However, on paper this matchup looks as winnable as any. Hopefully the Falcons can take care of business and power onward.