The Falcons have one of the best receiving trios in the NFL in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and second-year Calvin Ridley. But are they enough to get Atlanta to the playoffs this season?
How long does blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history hang over a franchise? The Atlanta Falcons 100 percent should have won Super Bowl LI against the Patriots but improbably blew a 28-3 late third-quarter lead and lost in overtime. Frankly, the Falcons franchise has gone backward ever since. The 2017 team was still pretty good and finished 10-6, but lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia.
Last year, injuries largely wrecked this team as it finished 7-9, Atlanta’s worst record since the 2014 club went 6-10. That led to the firing of coach Mike Smith, replaced by current coach Dan Quinn. Another losing season and Quinn almost surely will not see the 2020 campaign on the Falcons sideline.
Atlanta Falcons Acquisitions and Transactions
Really no earth-shaking additions or losses for this team in the off-season as the front office clearly believes the talent is there and that simply better luck in the health department will return the Falcons to contention.
One focus was definitely the offensive line, which was an injury-ravaged problem area in 2018. The team added free agents James Carpenter and Jamon Brown and used their two first-round picks on offensive linemen in Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, although McGary is dealing with a heart issue (not life-threatening) and won’t be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
Atlanta Falcons 2019 NFL Schedule (All times ET)
Atlanta has the seventh-toughest (tied) schedule in the NFL with its opponents combining for a .518 winning per centage last season.
Week 1 (Sept. 8): at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 2 (Sept. 15): vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Week 3 (Sept. 22): at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Week 4 (Sept. 29): vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Week 5 (Oct. 6): at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 6 (Oct. 13): at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. (Fox)
Week 7 (Oct. 20): vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 8 (Oct. 27): vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 9: BYE
Week 10 (Nov. 10): at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 11 (Nov. 17): at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 12 (Nov. 24): vs. Tampa Bay Bucs, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 13 (Nov. 28): vs. New Orleans Saints, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Week 14 (Dec. 8): vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 15 (Dec. 15): at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
Week 16 (Dec. 22): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 17 (Dec. 29): at Tampa Bay Bucs, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Atlanta Falcons NFL Betting and Odds
The Falcons have a Sports Interaction win total of 8.5, with the over a -123 favourite. They are +135 to make the playoffs and -189 to miss. Atlanta is +375 to win the NFC South, +1600 for the conference title and +3300 to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. The Falcons tied as the worst against the spread team in the NFL in 2018 with a 5-11 ATS mark.
Atlanta is a dome team, so it catches a break with no outdoor cold-weather games on the 2019 slate. In fact, it will have just three games fully outdoors, at Carolina, at San Francisco and at Tampa Bay. Huge positive that four of Atlanta’s final six are at home and just one of those six is against a 2018 playoff team (Saints).
Atlanta Falcons Season Prediction
The Falcons have looked awful for the most part in the pre-season but they usually do as Quinn has one of the worst active coaching records in exhibition games. Throw that out as Ryan barely played and star receiver Julio Jones didn’t at all. No reason this shouldn’t be a Top-5 offence with Ryan, tailback Devonta Freeman and one of the best receiving trios in the NFL in Jones, Mohamed Sanu and second-year Calvin Ridley.
It’s going to be on the defence where this season is decided, and that group should be much improved simply with some key guys staying healthy who didn’t in 2018. The Falcons finish 10-6 and are a Wild-Card team.