Are Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons for real?


This week's Monday edition of our NFL Google+ hangout -- "NFL Slam with Mark and Sam," starring Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer and Mark Thompson of "Mark and Brian" radio fame -- took a look at the NFL at the midpoint of the season.

The Atlanta Falcons are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL, but it's not what it seems.

"They almost lost at home to the Raiders and the Panthers, but they are 7-0 and could lock up the division by Thanksgiving. In a season of .500 teams, that is something to be respected," Farmer said.

"They will still have to prove it in the playoffs. [Quarterback] Matt Ryan has never won a playoff game. But they will be there at 14-2 or 13-3."

As Farmer wrote earlier this week,

"More than 80% of the league's teams have at least three victories, and it's almost impossible to predict who will be competitive from week to week.

"For instance, a week after playing the Patriots tough in New England, the New York Jets flopped at home against Miami on Sunday with a 30-9 loss — and the Dolphins played with backup quarterback Matt Moore.

"San Diego, a Super Bowl pick of some, lost at Cleveland, 7-6. It was the second time this season the Chargers failed to score a touchdown, something they hadn't done twice in a season since their 1-15 disaster in 2000.

"In Green Bay, one-win Jacksonville gave the Packers a scare before losing by nine, even though the Jaguars were without Maurice Jones-Drew, their best player.

"It's good to be on this side of an ugly win," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "The way we played on offense, especially the last couple of weeks, the expectations were we were going to come out and maybe blow them out. But we didn't start fast, we didn't have enough juice early on and didn't play well enough on offense to get that done."

"NFL Slam with Mark and Sam" is held every Monday and Friday at 11:30 a.m. You can watch it on this blog post. If you have questions for Mark and Sam, email them to and we will try to get them answered live during the chat.


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