After their first ever back-to-back winning seasons, Al Dannity likes the Falcons to make a push for the playoffs in 2010.
Off-season changes Despite being drafted in 2009, this will essentially be a second go at making a first impression for Peria Jerry who missed most of last season through injury. He is joined on defense by promising linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, Atlanta’s first round pick in the draft, and free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson. All of these arrivals represent upgrades, while second round selection William Moore could compete for a starting position at safety.
Off the field the Falcons secured an interesting recruit to their promotional team, with Samuel L. Jackson helping to inspire fans in Atlanta ahead of the 2010 season.
Mark your calendar The Falcons hit the ground running with a chance to stun the Steelers in Heinz Field on opening day. A trip to the Superdome in week 3 means Atlanta will face the last two Super Bowl champions in the first three weeks of the season. A trip to Philadelphia in week 6 could prove crucial in the race for the wild card slots in the playoffs. How the Falcons stand after such tough road games in the opening half of the season will have a big impact on NFL betting.
Atlanta will face Baltimore at home in what promises to be a thrilling match-up in week 10. Playoff contenders Green Bay visit in week 12, while the visit of New Orleans in week 16 could decide the NFC South.
The verdict The Falcons possess possibly the most solid yet unspectacular offense in the NFC. Michael Turner, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez all put up impressive numbers without carrying the kind of diva-like status of some of their contemporaries. Matt Ryan has already shown experience beyond his years and so long as the offense stays balanced he should be able to keep Atlanta in contention when it’s tight. With some interesting additions on defense the Falcons have the potential to make big strides in 2010. Robinson and Weatherspoon are the kind of playmakers that could bring the defense up to the next level.
If the Falcons can cope with the tough road games in the front end of its schedule, Atlanta will be well placed to make a run down the stretch. This is a playoff caliber team, one that has already come over Atlanta’s historic inability to put together back-to-back winning seasons. I like the Falcons to go 11-5 in 2010 and secure a wildcard slot in the playoffs. After that anything can happen.