The Atlanta Falcons are undefeated. We believe they are one of the seven or so elite teams in the NFL, but there are plenty of reasons they don't stand apart from the pack.
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"I think they have solid players," Madden said during his weekly appearance on the SiriusXM NFL Blitz show with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. "They are solid on offense, solid on defense, special teams, the whole thing. They play very well as a group, as a team. But at this halfway point, I know they are undefeated. They have the best record. But I'm not really ready to say, 'OK the Super Bowl is theirs. They are the world champions.' "
This whole "no national respect" meme is getting a little out of control. The Journal-Constitution took "solid" as a huge insult, but we think it's just a recognition that the 8-0 Falcons aren't some juggernaut. That's fine: There are no juggernauts in today's NFL.
Madden wants to see the Falcons win in the playoffs before he believes in them. That's not our argument. We're talking about this year's team. We're saying they are one of five very good NFC teams that we easily could see making the Super Bowl, with the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers also in the mix.
Perhaps a win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday will win over some people. After all, I was the only Around the League writer to pick the Falcons to win this game. (Have the other guys watched the Saints this year?)