This is another one of those teams in this very competitive division that thinks they may make another run at the Superbowl. They started out with 10 wins and has been bet down to 9. That is mostly because of the competition in this division.
OFFENSE: The Falcons have scored less and less since Sarkisian took over the offense. Part of that is the loss of Shanahan, and part of it is that he is just not that good of an offensive coordinator. It also is partly due to the Dirty Birds trying to insulate their defense, so they are trying to play more ball control. This version of Atlanta's offense might be the best just as far as pure talent. Ridley is going to add a dimension that have needed. And they will be very explosive with big plays.
DEFENSE: This might be the best defense the Falcons have had under Dan Quinn, which is a defensive guy. All of those young draft picks from the last few years have matured and should be good to go this season. I'm not saying they are going to be one of the best defenses in the league, but they have been improving. That had another decent draft as well. If the offense can get back to what they were, that will help their defense.
PREDICTION: Vegas has the Falcons at 9 wins, down from 10 when the lines were first released. I think they will go over that number, or at the very least push. I know they play in a very difficult division but the Bucs are not going to be any good as some think. NO and Carolina should be splits for Atlanta with home and home. So they should be no worse then 3-3 in that division. They are getting Philly at a time or turmoil without Wentz, and then 3 straight home games to grab some momentum. They travel to Pittsburgh before coming back with two more home games against teams they should beat. Looking over their schedule, I could see the Dirty Birds winning 11 games so I think they go way over.
BOLD PREDICTION: Atlanta will be the talk of the town after starting the season 5-2 or better. But they will fall off some towards the end. I think they make the playoffs but will get knocked out early on and Sarkisian will be fired.
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