On election night, every newstation in the country projected who was going to win based on what's happening right then. Half the fun of it is speculating about what will happen. So at the midpoint of the season, let's do a little projecting and speculating.
The talk heading into this season about the Falcons was if the offense opens up under Dirk Koetter, who will get left out? As the old football saying goes, "There are only enough passes to go around."
Atlanta's offense in QB Matt Ryan's fifth season has exceeded most people's expectations. Change was expected and the talent the roster boasts implied the numbers would be strong, but at the halfway point in 2012, you can begin to see just how strong statistically the Falcons could finish this year.
Ryan is on pace to have the best season any way you look at it in his career. Averaged out, he is projected to finish with 4,720 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. His yards and touchdowns will exceed his current best numbers in those categories, both of which happened last season. His passing yards will be 500 yards over his career best and touchdowns thrown will be five more than 2011.
He'll also set single-season passing records for completions, attempts, completion percentage, and QB rating.
Roddy White, who has had plenty of really impressive seasons, could walk away with the most yards in his career with 1,418. His 94 receptions would be less than the last two seasons when he hit 100 or more, but it would stand as the third-highest total in his career.
The sophomore sensation Julio Jones could hit 1,256 yards, 80 receptions and 10 touchdowns, shattering his numbers as a rookie.
At tight end, Tony Gonzalez has wowed everyone with his age-defying 2012 performance. He's on pace to reach 990 yards (and surely he'd find 10 more yards somewhere), 100 catches and eight touchdowns. His yards and touchdowns will only be the fifth-most in his hall of fame career, but he reached 100 receptions only one other time in his career (2004).
Assuming Gonzalez can achieve the 1,000-yard mark, the three pass catchers would be the first trio in Falcons history to each record 80 catches and 1,000 yards in a single season.
While most have said running back Michael Turner is having a down year, it's really only because the Falcons are running less and Turner's numbers while in Atlanta have been outstanding in comparison to this year. He's still on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards, his fourth season in five years in Atlanta that he will have done so. Turner's lone below-1,000-yard season was in 2009 when an injury limited him to only 11 games. He's also on pace for eight touchdowns. All of this despite his projected total of 256 carries, considerably less than the 337 carries he's averaged during his three full seasons of play.
If this season goes according to its current pace, it would mark the first time in franchise history a Falcons offense had a 4,500-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000 yard receivers. This year's offensive playmakers would surpass the 1995 team that boasted 1,000-yard receivers Eric Metcalf, Terance Mathis and Bert Emanuel, 1,000-yard back Craig Heyward and quarterback Jeff George and his 4,100 yards.