The Atlanta Falcons came into last season after one of the most horrific letdowns in sport history. However, they didn’t let it stop them from being back into the playoffs. The Falcons once again look poised to rise in the South and return to the playoffs for the third straight year.
NFC SOUTH DIVISION WINNERS: +185 (Bovada)
NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +1100 (Bovada)
SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +2000 (Bovada)
Team Win Total: O/U 9.5 (Westgate)
Week 1 @ Philadelphia (+4) Week 9 @ Washington (-2.5)
Week 2 vs. Carolina (-4) Week 10 @ Cleveland (-3)
Week 3 vs. New Orleans (-3) Week 11 vs. Dallas (-2.5)
Week 4 vs Cincinnati (-7) Week 12 @ New Orleans (+3.5)
Week 5 @ Pittsburgh (+4) Week 13 vs Baltimore ( -3.5)
Week 6 vs Tampa Bay (-7) Week 14 @ Green Bay (+3.5)
Week 7 vs. New York (Giants) (-6) Week 15 vs. Arizona (-7.5)
Week 8 BYE WEEK Week 16 @ Carolina (+1.5)
Week 17 @ Tampa Bay (N/A)
Eagles, Steelers, and Packers on the road will be no joke. Thankfully for the Falcons, they will have a bye week in the middle of the year to give their guys some rest. The Falcons are favored in 10 of the 16 games posted and most likely will be favored in Week 17.
Key Team Additions and Subtractions
Additions – G Brandon Fusco
Subtractions – WR Taylor Gabriel, TE Levine Toilolo, DT Dontari Poe, DE Courtney Upshaw, and DE Adrian Clayborn
Draft – WR Calvin Ridley, CB Isiah Oliver, DT Deadrin Senat, RB Ito Smith, WR Russel Gage, and LB Foyesade Oluokun
Matt Ryan is a year removed from his MVP year. Ryan was still top ten in yards but fell back in the middle of the pack for almost every category. Matt needs to get back to his MVP caliber game for the Falcons to continue their dominance.
Devonta Freeman has been a great lead back since assuming the full time job. Again he should be one of the better backs in the league. Paired with Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith are shifty and give the team two nice change of speed backs.
The Falcons already had one of the best wide receiver pairs if not the best in Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Ideally Jones needs to have more touchdowns than he did last year, but he still will allow Sanu and Ridley to be in single coverage which may be more valuable. Austin Hooper had a great opening game but never regained that form. He will need to improve as a threat this season.
Alex Mack is and All-Pro center. With an injury bug running a muck on their line last year, it was still a strong unit. The team added Brandon Fusco who should be starting at the right guard position. This line should be a strong force for Ryan and the Falcons.
Vic Bealsey and Takkarist Mckinley will bookend the defensive line. Both are hard to stop and dual threats for the Falcons. Senat was a highly touted rookie who comes with a great motor. Grady Jarrett has improved each season since joining the league.
Deion Jones was top ten in total tackles and will be the return as the middle linebacker. De’Vondre Campbell and Duke Riley will need to step on the outsides to solidify this unit.
Atlanta has one of the best secondaries in the league. Desmond Trufant is a true number one corner, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Neal are one of the best set of safeties in the league. If Robert Alford or Isaiah Oliver can solidify the second corner position, this secondary will be tough.
Matt Bryant has been kicking for quiet some time and continues to be a steady kicker. The Falcons will miss Taylor Gabriel in the return game but Ito Smith or Justin Hardy will take over the role now.
The Falcons again will be a strong team. But Matt Ryan looked like his age might be effecting him. Hopefully his talented weapons can keep him spry. The defense is going to be a very strong group and could help this team make a deep run. This is a very complete team.
Again the NFC South is tough group. However, three of four teams will be over 9 wins. Logically it will be Saints, Panthers and Falcons.
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