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Falcons Record: Best- And Worst-Case Scenarios

Without taking the exercise too seriously: 12-5 would be far more shocking than 6-11.

After covering the NFL for almost 40 years, I have a saying: "It's a .500 league.''

More than ever before, the balanced schedule, free agency, the salary cap and the NFL Draft combine to be a design for rags-to-riches - and riches-to-rags. Last year's good teams are meant to be dragged down.

Last year's bad teams - a list that includes the Atlanta Falcons - are meant to ... well ...

Rise Up.

Pro Football Focus has taken a shot at predicting what will happen to the 2021 Falcons, record-wise, over the course of the upcoming season. The Falcons finished 4-12 last year and, for their trouble were rewarded with the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft as a "last-place schedule.''

And yet, PFF's series of simulations, an effort to create a picture of what will happen in 2021 - a best-case and worst-case scenario is offered - leaves Atlanta maybe ending up at 6-11.

Yes, that is better than last year. But that's not how NFL parity is supposed to work.

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But then there is the best-case scenario: If everything goes just right - and we are going to work on the assumption that we ready do mean everything here - the Falcons are going 12-5.

A first-year GM in Terry Fontenot. A first-year head coach in Arthur Smith. A defense that was not good a year ago and an offense moving on from Julio Jones ... that would be quite an accomplishment, likely fueled by a rejuvenated QB Matt Ryan.

READ MORE: Is Matt Ryan Still A Top 10 NFL QB?

Without taking the exercise too seriously: 12-5 would be far more shocking than 6-11. As the folks at Falcoholic write, a smart prediction might be "somewhere around 8-9 or 9-8.''

And why? Because, as I've said for all these years: "It's a .500 league.''