With one-fourth of the NFL season in the books, the Atlanta Falcons sit at 1-3 with more questions than answers. Through four games, the Falcons are averaging just 2.5 less points per game than their opponents and they haven't lost by more than seven points this season. The Falcons aren't that far off, but all that matters in the NFL is the win and loss columns.
As fans, we've spent a lot of time focusing on the Falcons red zone offense and there is good reason for that because it has been dreadful. But, that's not the only issue that is plaguing this Falcons team right now.
With all of the injuries the Falcons have had (Weatherspoon, Biermann, Asante), the defense isn't playing that badly. But, one area in which there has been a steep decline from 2012 is turnovers. Through four games in 2012, the Falcons had caused 12 turnovers (7 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles). In 2013, the Falcons have caused just 4 turnovers.
That is a huge difference. A turnover changes the game in many ways and the fact that the Falcons are creating 1/3 less turnovers than they were in 2012 is huge especially when you consider the close games that the Falcons have played in so far this season. One turnover here or there and the Falcons season is on a significantly different trajectory.
While it's tough to tell your team to go out and create turnovers, that is definitely one of the missing ingredients in this 2013 Falcons team.