Just three games into the season, the Falcons are one of only two unbeaten NFL teams, and the sole one in the NFC. A 3-0 start is modest, but it is still the nicest house on its block.
I have noticed no asterisk in the standings. No parenthetical qualifier.
Nothing along the lines of: 3-0*
*- they’ve been luckier than a trust fund baby.
Or: 3-0 (should be 1-2 if the Bears had hands and if the Lions had only sent the replay judge a Christmas card).
Without apology, without a trace of embarrassment, the Falcons are unbeaten. There may be reason to fear some future cosmic backlash to the amount of good fortune they have enjoyed thus far – if you believe that the universe rides such a scale. But, otherwise, at the moment, this particular 3-0 looks way too healthy and much too meaningful for equivocation.
So, no apologies offered nor expected.
It’s difficult to know where the Falcons stand in their division, since they won’t play their first NFC South opponent until November. But from a distance, no one else in the division has looked terribly frightening. The other three all have at least one loss by double digits already this year. They have well and truly earned their slots behind the Falcons in the standings.
What that 3-0 does include is some nice cushion should the topic of playoff tiebreaker with either Green Bay or Detroit come up later. It includes two road victories within the conference, most precious commodities. It includes an infusion of confidence that somehow, some way this team will find a way.
Goods starts don’t always mean good seasons. Dan Quinn’s first Falcons team won its first five games and then found its level at .500 by the close of 2015. But this isn’t Dan Quinn’s first team.
The Falcons won their first eight as recently as 2012, and got as far as a NFC championship. If these Falcons win their first eight, nothing less than a Super Bowl redux (maybe with a different ending this time) will be palatable.
Good starts, however they are accomplished, require little justification.
Because they are better than bad starts.