Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks are Division Leaders

Just like everyone predicted am I right? Of course, not. On the contrary, most of us expected them to be picking in the top 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft. How are these 2 teams blowing everyone’s expectations out of the water?

Atlanta Falcons

Let’s begin with the Falcons. At 4-4 they’re leading the NFC South. It helps them that father time, plus some off the field issues, have affected Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Division favorites) greatly. At 4-4 you wouldn’t expect a team to be leading their division going into November, but the Atlanta Falcons are. Marcus Mariota has discovered a resurgence in his career in Atlanta. completing around 63 percent of his passes for 1400 yards, and a positive turnover ratio at 10 touchdowns to 6 interceptions through 8 games. They used their top draft pick on Drake London out of USC and wasted no time in plugging him in as their leading receiver. They’ve also spread the ball around at running back. Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier have over 300 yards rushing. Mariota also has 280 yards on the ground while newcomer Caleb Huntley has 265. With that kind of ground attack, they’re able to give their defense a break. The Falcons defense has been surprisingly efficient with Rashaan Evans leading the team in tackles and AJ Terrell has 5 pass breakups but is yet to record an interception. With close games it helps having excellent special teams. They employ the best kick return in the game today in Cordarrelle Patterson, but kicker Yunghoe Koo has been efficient and clutch only missing 2 kicks thus far on the season. He even had a game winner in overtime last week against the Carolina Panthers. He should send DJ Moore a thank you card for gifting them that game by taking his helmet off during a game tying touchdown catch with time expiring pushing the extra point back 15 yards that Eddy Pineiro hooked wide. They do have division losses to the Saints and Buccaneers though. They’ll have to find a way to win those games to keep the lead, but they’ve surprised me already this year and they plan to continue doing that.

Photo Courtesy of All-Pro Reels

Seattle Seahawks

Much like the NFC South, the NFC West has underachieved too. The Rams and Matt Stafford haven’t been able to capture the magic of their Super Bowl from a year ago. The San Francisco 49ers have lost some games they probably shouldn’t have to the Bears, Broncos and the aforementioned Falcons. The Cardinals haven’t really impressed much either, but the Seahawks have won games against both the Cardinals in division as well as beating the New York football Giants in a somewhat surprising game last week. The biggest surprise with the Seahawks is Geno Smith looking like an NFL quarterback for the first time in his career, making many wonders if Russell Wilson was a system QB under Pete Carroll as well. They have weapons to help any QB out in Seattle and a good defense that don’t have the big names like with the legion of boom years, but a young bunch that plays hard and keeps them in games. They also drafted a stud running back Kenneth Walker III aka K-9 and he lives up to the name as he’s an absolute dawg on the football field. They do have a divisional loss to the 49ers, but they have plenty of divisional games left to help build that lead and if they get a playoff game at home in front of the 12th man in Seattle, look out. They could continue to pull upsets.

Both of these teams have won some games they were underdogs in, but they are also feasting on underachieving divisions. It will be intriguing to see how it all plays out.

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