Michael Cunningham

Sports columnist and blogger

Michael Cunningham is a sports columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010. He is the author of the AJC’s Mike Check blog.

Latest from Michael Cunningham

Joke’s on Falcons in embarrassing loss at Browns
 Even in the NFL, where parity is king, the Browns are the kind of opponent that other teams use to build confidence or keep it high. They were speed bumps during winning streaks by the Steelers and Chargers. The Buccaneers beat the Browns for their only victory in their past seven games.  The Browns didn’t win a game last season...

Posted: 16 hours ago

Even in the NFL, where parity is king, the Browns are the kind of opponent that other teams use to build confidence or keep it high. They were speed bumps during winning streaks by the Steelers and Chargers. The Buccaneers beat the Browns for their only victory in their past seven games.  The Browns didn’t win a game last season...
Falcons not half bad on defense, and getting better
 Halfway through the season the Falcons aren’t half bad on defense. If that seems like faint praise, you should have seen them before.  Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel warned us after two Pro Bowl starters from last season, linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal, went to injured reserve after the first game.  &ldquo...

Posted: 2 days ago

Halfway through the season the Falcons aren’t half bad on defense. If that seems like faint praise, you should have seen them before.  Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel warned us after two Pro Bowl starters from last season, linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal, went to injured reserve after the first game.  &ldquo...
Weekend Predictions: ’Canes clip Tech again, Georgia and Falcons win
 Look who’s back, baby! Who said Weekend Predictions fell off?   Last weekend was a first: I correctly predicted that Georgia, Georgia Tech and the Falcons all would cover the spread. That includes picking the Falcons to win as a road underdog, part of my 4-2 record against the spread in Week 9 NFL games. If you want expert...

Posted: 3 days ago

Look who’s back, baby! Who said Weekend Predictions fell off?   Last weekend was a first: I correctly predicted that Georgia, Georgia Tech and the Falcons all would cover the spread. That includes picking the Falcons to win as a road underdog, part of my 4-2 record against the spread in Week 9 NFL games. If you want expert...
Hawks rookie Trae Young already looks like the real deal
 Full disclosure: I’m rooting for Trae Young to succeed. That’s not because of any allegiance to the Hawks, of which I have zero. It’s also not because of a personal affinity for Young, who has seemed likable in our professional interactions but who I don’t know well.  Rather, I hope Young becomes a good NBA player...

Posted: 6 days ago

Full disclosure: I’m rooting for Trae Young to succeed. That’s not because of any allegiance to the Hawks, of which I have zero. It’s also not because of a personal affinity for Young, who has seemed likable in our professional interactions but who I don’t know well.  Rather, I hope Young becomes a good NBA player...
Now I believe it: The Falcons really are a good team
 For the past month my basic view of the Falcons is that they are not a very good team. Good enough to slog to the playoffs in the parity-focused NFL, yes, but not really a good team.  I’m reassessing after the Falcons thrashed Washington, 38-14, Sunday at FedEx Field. The Falcons made the NFC East leaders look like impostors...

Posted: 7 days ago

For the past month my basic view of the Falcons is that they are not a very good team. Good enough to slog to the playoffs in the parity-focused NFL, yes, but not really a good team.  I’m reassessing after the Falcons thrashed Washington, 38-14, Sunday at FedEx Field. The Falcons made the NFC East leaders look like impostors...
Weekend Predictions: Road victories for Bulldogs, Jackets, Falcons 
 The Falcons can stay squarely in the NFC wild-card race with a victory at Washington. A win at Kentucky would keep Georgia on track for the inevitable loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Georgia Tech is trying to take a step toward bowl eligibility but, if that means Christmas in Detroit, perhaps the Yellow Jackets could reconsider...

Posted: 10 days ago

The Falcons can stay squarely in the NFC wild-card race with a victory at Washington. A win at Kentucky would keep Georgia on track for the inevitable loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Georgia Tech is trying to take a step toward bowl eligibility but, if that means Christmas in Detroit, perhaps the Yellow Jackets could reconsider...
Sunday results didn’t help Falcons’ playoff odds but Matt Ryan gives them an edge
 The Falcons were off this week, and they saw mixed results in the Sunday NFL games that affect their standing. Their already-small odds to win the NFC South diminished further when Carolina and New Orleans both won. Those games, plus others in the NFC, reduced the Falcons’ playoff odds in the FiveThirtyEight model from 28 to 23...

Posted: 14 days ago

The Falcons were off this week, and they saw mixed results in the Sunday NFL games that affect their standing. Their already-small odds to win the NFC South diminished further when Carolina and New Orleans both won. Those games, plus others in the NFC, reduced the Falcons’ playoff odds in the FiveThirtyEight model from 28 to 23...
Georgia’s defense deflates Florida
 For all the worrying about Georgia’s quarterbacks in that ugly loss at LSU, its defeated defense was the bigger warning sign. It had been a long time since Jake Fromm was that bad, so it was reasonable to consider it an aberration. The defense, on the other hand, had shown cracks more than once this season.  That’s why it...

Posted: 15 days ago

For all the worrying about Georgia’s quarterbacks in that ugly loss at LSU, its defeated defense was the bigger warning sign. It had been a long time since Jake Fromm was that bad, so it was reasonable to consider it an aberration. The defense, on the other hand, had shown cracks more than once this season.  That’s why it...
Weekend Predictions: Tech stumbles again, Bulldogs bounce back
 The annual Florida-Georgia football game is this weekend, and you know what that means. Time for everyone to make tired Cocktail Party jokes. Yes, I low-key just made the same joke while pretending I’m above it, but you see, that’s clever because it’s meta.  The Bulldogs return from their bye trying to recover from...

Posted: 17 days ago

The annual Florida-Georgia football game is this weekend, and you know what that means. Time for everyone to make tired Cocktail Party jokes. Yes, I low-key just made the same joke while pretending I’m above it, but you see, that’s clever because it’s meta.  The Bulldogs return from their bye trying to recover from...