2022 Bold Predictions: Atlanta Falcons

2022 Bold Predictions: Atlanta Falcons

by June 8, 2022 0 comments

Last offseason, the Atlanta Falcons made waves by trading away their perennial All-Pro and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones for next to nothing to the Tennessee Titans. The move seemed like a no-brainer after the season, with Jones’ lack of production in Nashville as he battled injuries. Atlanta traded four-time Pro Bowl selection and former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in another surprise move this offseason. While trading away arguably your two best players in back-to-back seasons usually signal a rebuild, it may not be the case in the ATL. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Bold Predictions

Leaps and Bounds Improvement in Year Two 

Arthur Smith’s team went 7-10 in his first season as head coach. Heading into year two, the team added some new faces. Faces that Smith, the former Titans offensive coordinator, is familiar with. Starting with his former quarterback Marcus Mariota. They also signed wide receiver Cameron Batson, tight end Anthony Firkser, and run-stopping linebacker Rashaan Evans from Smith’s former club. The familiarity with his quarterback and knowing his skill set will be a recipe for success. This team will make a serious run at a wildcard spot this season.

The REAL Kyle Pitts Will Stand Up 

The highly touted pass catcher out of Florida had a rather pedestrian 1,000-yard rookie campaign. While he earned a Pro Bowl spot, the projections were much higher than his lone touchdown. Like his head coach, Pitts will benefit from his quarterback’s style of play. In Nashville, with Mariota under center, Delanie WalkerJonnu Smith, and Firsker had arguably their best success. Pitts will put up major numbers this season in the form of double-digit touchdowns and the 1,700 ballpark in receiving yards, earning his second straight Pro Bowl nod. 

MM8 Rides Again 

The number two overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and former Titans starting quarterback, Mariota is looking to resurrect his once-promising career after his lights-out debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the only player selected before him, Jameis Winston. His inconsistent play paved the way for Ryan Tannehill‘s career resurgence. Combining that chip on his shoulder with a head coach that knows and embraces the way he plays the position makes Mariota an interesting story to watch. Before Tom Brady‘s unretirement, Mariota was already the best quarterback in the division. But even still, Mariota will lead the Falcons to the NFC South title. But the fairy tale will end with a quick playoff exit.

The Defense will Gel

Many shiny new parts on the defensive side of the ball pose a bit of uncertainty. While it may take a few weeks for veterans Lorenzo CarterCasey Hayward, and Evans to get a feel for and begin to feed off of each other, they will figure it out quickly. The unit will be among the top half of the league. In his fifth NFL season, Evans will have earned his first Pro Bowl nod. 

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Husband, father of 3 and an avid sports fan. Living out my childhood dream of writing about sports, now that I'm in my forties.

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