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Despite lofty record, Falcons dealing with plenty of trouble spots after ugly win over Arizona

The Atlanta Falcons are tied for the best record in the NFL. They have a comfortable lead in their division. They've already clinched another winning season.

Nothing much to complain about, right?

Not exactly.

For a team that has built such a lofty mark, the NFC-leading Falcons (9-1) had plenty of high-profile issues to deal with Monday coming off an ugly win over Arizona. Like a feeble running game, a defense that keeps giving up big running plays, injuries to Asante Samuel and Julio Jones, plus a four-game suspension for backup center Joe Hawley.

The NFL announced the penalty after Hawley tested positive for performance-enhancing substances, yet another distraction for a team that must address its trouble spots to avoid a repeat of the one-and-done playoff troubles of recent years.