11:24 PM EDT, October 9, 2012
Falcons could run table
Los Angeles Times
Were they to play each other, I'd give the Texans the edge over the Falcons. But Atlanta will hang on to its unblemished record longer, particularly with Texans linebacker Brian Cushing out for the year.
The Texans have a tougher remaining schedule, with games they could lose Sunday against the Packers, Nov. 11 at Chicago and Dec. 10 at New England. Of course, there's also the possibility of another team pulling off an upset, the way the Colts rode a wave of emotion and knocked off the Packers.
Other than division games, the Falcons play Oakland, at Philadelphia, Dallas, Arizona, the Giants and at Detroit. It likely won't happen, but the Falcons can run that table, especially if they maintain their turnover-differential pace.
Both will lose on Nov. 11
The small ranks of undefeated NFL teams are about to thin, but not immediately.
The Texans and the Falcons aren't going to lose their first game this month.
The powerhouse Texans will be able to edge the Ravens, avenging their divisional playoff loss in two weeks. However, they're going to be upset by the Bears on Nov. 11 at Soldier Field as Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall exploit cornerback Kareem Jackson.
The Falcons are going to lose their first game that same day, falling to the Saints at the Superdome as Matt Ryan is outshined by Drew Brees in a shootout.
Despite these setbacks, these will remain two of the elite teams in the league. However, I still have no faith in Ryan in the postseason.
Texans face rough stretch
Neither the Texans nor the Falcons are the type of team anyone suspects will run the table. So it's probably just a matter of time before each stumbles.
Who will lose first might depend more on who they are playing than how they are playing. The Texans have the rougher stretch of schedule immediately in front of them, so they are more likely to fall first.
Their first loss could come as quickly as Sunday night when they host the Packers. Of course the Packers have not been the Packers this year, but they could find themselves at any moment. And even if the Texans get past the Pack, they get the Ravens the week after that.
The Falcons, meanwhile, play the 1-3 Raiders on Sunday before an open date.
Cushing injury hurts
Both can efficiently run and pass the ball, and each squad is beginning to hit its stride on defense. But expect the Falcons to be the last to lose.
The Texans play four home games in the next five, but the Packers (2-3), who visit Houston on Sunday night, are looking to regain national respect. Houston provides that opportunity. Then the Texans host the Ravens.
Let us not forget the Texans will embark on that difficult stretch without star linebacker Brian Cushing, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Monday night's win over the Jets.
The Falcons host the Raiders before their open date, and then play at Philadelphia before hosting the Cowboys and traveling to New Orleans. That's not an easy stretch, but it's not insurmountable.
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