A changing off the guard is in place in Atlanta. Franchise receiver Julio Jones is gone and a New General Manager and Head Coach are in place.
The Falcons will be missing one of the greatest players in franchise history when they take to the field this NFL season. Gone is standout receiver Julio Jones with a changing of the guard taking place in Atlanta. Although the team drafted a young Tight End and signed a number of offensive additions to fill the void, expectations are not high in the ATL.
The team cleared out its front office and welcomed new General Manager Terry Fontenot. Former Titans Offensive co-ordinator Arthur Smith gets his first opportunity on the sidelines as Head Coach. Can Smith breathe new life into a changed offence and help veteran Matt Ryan, who is 36 years old and coming off a below average season?
Interesting note, in the middle of the preseason, the Falcons announced that they were the first NFL team to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Atlanta Falcons Acquisitions and Moves
The Falcons made a number of moves this off season that shook the NFL world. Let’s start off with some deletions, and one that disappointed a lot of Falcons faithful. For the first time since the 2011 season, Julio Jones will not be wearing a Falcons jersey. The seven-time Pro-Bowler and future hall of famer was shipped to the Tennessee Titans for a pair of draft picks. So, the receiving core will be led by Calvin Ridley who enters his fourth NFL season and will be a favourite target of Quarterback Matt Ryan.
Ryan will be surrounded by a number of new weapons on offence. The Falcons used the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft to select arguably one of the best Tight End prospects of all-time. Six foot six Kyle Pitts out of Florida was the highest selected Tight End in NFL history and is listed as a +900 favourite at Sports Interaction to win offensive rookie of the year. He is projected to finish with just under 800 yards receiving this season. In the backfield, the Falcons moved on from Todd Gurley and signed free agent Mike Davis to a two-year deal. Last season with the Panthers, Davis was an adequate backup for Christian McCaffrey, who spent the majority of the season on IR. In 12 games, he rushed for 642 yards and six touchdowns. It was his best NFL season of his seven-year NFL career. Now, he becomes the featured back in Atlanta and he will be asked to carry the ball 17-20 times per game, every game.
Other notable additions include back-up Quarterback A.J. McCarron, who torn his ACL in a preseason game and will miss the remainder of the season, Receiver Tajae Sharpe and kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson. Notable deletions include, Running back Ito Smith, Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, Center Alex Mack and Safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen.
Atlanta Falcons 2021 NFL Schedule
The Falcons are coming a horrendous 4-12 season in 2020. Atlanta has the third-easiest slate this coming season. That’s based on opponents’ records from the previous year. Of course, they will face the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers twice and the Bills late in the season. The Falcons will play the Jets, Lions and Jaguars this season who combined for a grand total of eight wins last season.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 12 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 19 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 26 at New York Giants, 1:00 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3 vs. Washington Football Team, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10 vs. New York Jets, 9:30 a.m.
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24 at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31 vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14 at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 18 vs. New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28 at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12 at Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday Dec. 26 vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2 at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Week 18: Sunday, Jan. 9 vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons NFL Betting Odds
The Falcons are paying +190 to make the playoffs, which is a bet I would not recommend. Their over/under win total is listed at 7.5 wins. The under is paying +109 and that’s the direction I would grade this team entering the 2021 season. They are also one of biggest longshots on the board of any division, paying +943 to win the NFC South. In the longshot category, how does +2653 sound for the Falcons to win the Super Bowl? I didn’t think you’d be interested, but I had to ask.
Atlanta Falcons 2021 Season Prediction
It’ll be interesting to see how much Kyle Pitts will be targeted in this offence. With Julio Jones in Music City, Pitts could see more targets thrown his way. Perhaps its worth a flyer to win offensive rookie of the year. As for the season itself, I have the Falcons finishing the year at 7-11.