The Atlanta Falcons had no right winning 7 games last season. From defense to offensive line, injuries plagued this team and they could never consistently produce at a high level.
The first half of the season was painful to watch. Their defense was horrendous. They faced off against the Texans and let them score 52 points! Then week 11 is when everything changed.
They faced their division rival Saints and dominated them. Even with a healthy Drew Brees they only allowed a season low 9 points as their momentum rose in the back half of the season. They ended up winning 6 out of their last 8 games essentially saving the jobs of HC Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff.
If this team can stay healthy, there is a good chance they outproduce my prediction and win 10+ games, but that could be a problem. The offensive line is one thing, but Todd Gurley is another. I loved the signing as they got him on a great 1 year prove it deal, but there is already reports of him limping in training camp. He can be a huge difference maker, but he needs to be on the field. Ito Smith and Brian Hill are not the answer that is going to help them into the playoffs.
The other pieces on offense look great. I look at Matt Ryan as a huge sleeper going into next season. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are one of the best WR duos in the NFL. Plus I have to give a shoutout to the underappreciated Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst.
The defense is going to tell the story for this team. It has been the downfall for them in recent history. I love the talent of Keanu Neal, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2017. I put Deion Jones as the defensive player of the year, but that could easily be Neal.
I’m also a big fan of their approach in the draft. They stacked up on defensive players including their first overall pick A.J. Terrell. I was disappointed to not see them trade up for one of the elite CBs of the draft. That being said, they addressed their glaring issue in the secondary.
If you’re one of those people thinking there is no way they beat the Saints, then you must be new to this league. Say what you want about this team, but the Falcons are one of the stingiest teams in the NFL. Injuries or not, this team finds ways to grease out wins.
The NFC South is going to be a war next season.
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