Where should I start with this preview of the Falcons? I feel like somewhere around three fourths of the way through this post should work. All jokes aside, many are expecting the Falcons to be right back in the mix for a super bowl championship run again this season, even after an epic collapse against the Patriots.
With an all pro QB like Matt Ryan under center, Davonta Freeman still manning the backfield and an absolute beast in Julio Jones at wide out it's hard to argue against them having another tremendous offensive season, a season which saw them average 33.8 points per game. However, looking at the history of the league, the feat of winning a Super Bowl this season will be a tough one to achieve. Only two teams in the history of the NFL have lost the super bowl and went on to win it the next season, the 1973 Dolphins and the 1972 Cowboys. There's no questioning the offense, which should at the very least keep them in every game this season.
I think the big question for this team still remains on the defensive side. They did add a couple good pieces in the draft, and signed Pro Bowler Dontari Poe who would clog up the middle of the line. Another key piece returning is Pro Bowl safety Desmond Trufant. His season was cut short last year after just 9 games. He should provide a big boost in the defensive secondary. Other key pieces on defense include the NFL sack leader from last season Vic Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarret, and team tackle leader, linebacker Deion Jones.
Even with all the aforementioned pieces the Falcons defense gave up nearly four touchdowns (25.4 points) a game during the regular season, putting them 27th overall. While I do think the defense has improved, I feel like they overachieved some last season. So I'm not sure how much better they'll actually be this season, if any better at all. If the Falcons struggle any on offense, or if any key players get hurt, the Falcons might struggle to win the division this season much less make a trip back to the Super Bowl. I don't see them averaging 33.8 points per game again this season so I think they'll be in some close games.
Also adding fuel to the fire is the fact that they'll have a bullseye on them for winning the NFC. They'll get every other teams best this season. I'm not so sure they'll run away with the NFC South either. I expect the Panthers to be much improved this season and the Bucs might take an even bigger step forward than their 9-7 record this past season. I don't expect much from the Saints but I guess you can never count Drew Brees out. While it seems easy to say the Falcons win the division again. I think they'll finish second this season and get a wild card spot.
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