Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Lots of good responses to the most recent "Have at it'' question: are the Falcons for real?
I sorted through the mailbag and the responses brought a wide variety of opinions. I picked a few to represent the optimists, the pessimists and those in the middle of the road.
First, the optimists:
Mark in Hegins, PA writes: Atlanta is a very different team than last year and will win more games than alot of people are predicting!!! Falcons get a wild card this year and finish 9-7!!
Ronald in Lynchburg, VA writes: I think you can't say they are for real until the Falcons win a division game. Beating bad teams is a good step forward. That's what good teams do. They handle teams that are below them. The Falcons are going to have to beat the panthers to gain some respect and garner some talk as a real playoff contender, but none of this can happen is mike mularkey can't stay balanced on offense when times get tough.
Next, representing the pessimists (and that term may be temporary because most agree the Falcons have a bright future):
Steven in Columbia, MD writes: I think 6-10 is a little bit of a stretch. I don't reallt see the Falcons winning a game in the division, especially with a rookie quarterback. In order for them to win Micheal Turner has to have a huge game, which I don't see happening that often. I only see one game left on thier schedule that they should win, and that is St. Louis, which will still be a tough game for them.
Finally, the middle-of-the-road gang and there seem to be a lot of members here:
Alexis in Atlanta writes: The Falcons will go through their share of ups & downs (more downs) but the will pull out a few surprise wins this year. Now next year, WATCH OUT!! The Falcons have a young yet explosive offense with many up & coming weapons that are showing great sings & Ryan is show a great deal of maturity & with young recievers & backs to grow with him the NFC is in trouble & the NFC South is getting older. On the defensive side of the ball once they get a safety & at least one linebacker that will bring it & offenses plan for they will be fine. The D-lINE & their young corners or stepping up. The Falcons are an unselfish group with no "Me Men" on the team, & a QB that shows early signs of leadership ability that the greats have displayed.
NashvilleNed writes: I am not a fan of the Atlanta Falcons but I am however impressed with their early season success. After the turmoil of losing a pro bowl QB and being abandoned by their head coach mid-season, they should be proud of what they've accomplished thus far. Micheal Turner and Matt Ryan are great acquisitions and has them heading in the right direction. I agree that they have no chance of making the playoffs but there is a lot of positive things fans should take from their Falcons.
Dwalk in ATLANTA writes: Wow! No possible 8-8. I strongly feel Atlanta will steal more than 1 0r 2 games left in the division. New Oreleans has to come to Atlanta week 1 in Nov & Tampa week 1 in Dec. If we are healthy in both games i see the outcome in our favor. Teams have express it is truly hard to win in the Ga Dome aginst the falcons with the they are on a roll. The division on the other hand will be another season.
Davincci in Baltimore writes: Atlanta looks decent right now, and that is a good sign for fans like me, but expectations should remain low for this year so their will be no media circus anointing Matt Ryan as Tom Brady and Michael Turner as LT part 2. The best thing Atlanta fans can do is expect a below .500 season and cheer the team in every game, knowing this is not their playoff year.