The Atlanta Falcons will take the field in 2022 without Matt Ryan under center for the first time since 2007. There is no denying that this team has talent, but they have a lot of work to do before regaining relevance in the NFC. This season will be mostly about developing their young talent and praying a franchise quarterback is on its roster.
Atlanta Falcons Odds
- To win NFC South | +2800
- To win NFC | +7500
- To win Super Bowl | +15000
- To make playoffs | Yes +650/ No -1200
The big news out of Atlanta is the quarterback situation. Marcus Mariota will be the first new quarterback to start a season for Atlanta since 2007 and has big shoes to fill. Rookie Desmond Ridder and Feleipe Franks will back up Mariota.
While many expect the Falcons to be a mess this season, the pieces are in place for this offense to succeed. Cordarrelle Patterson is coming off a career year in the backfield and has a few talented guys behind him, such as Damien Williams. Mariota will have a strong group of receivers to choose between Kyle Pitts, Bryan Edwards and rookie Drake London. There are some question marks, but if all goes well, the Falcons might surprise many people this season.
Player to Watch: WR Drake London
The Falcons’ defense is the area that needed the most improvement during the offseason. Yet, Atlanta did little to get better on defense after allowing 27 points per game in 2021. Perhaps the most significant roster change on defense was the loss of their best tackler in linebacker Foyesade Oluokun.
The Atlanta Falcons didn’t ignore their needs on defense totally and added cornerback Casey Hayward to bolster their secondary. He is a veteran presence for this team who consistently puts up quality numbers. With All-Pro A.J. Terrell on the opposite side, the Falcons’ secondary may take a big step forward this season.
Player to Watch: CB A.J. Terrell
Falcons Team Strength
From where we sit, the Falcons’ biggest strength lies with its offense. Losing Ryan after so many years in Atlanta won’t be easy. But Ryan didn’t set the world on fire last season regarding stats. A healthy and focused Mariota might be a significant upgrade.
The Falcons also have a phenomenal stable of young talent, including Mariota’s backup, Ridder, and WR London. They added Edwards from the Las Vegas Raiders to fill out this new-look offense. Thanks to Patterson’s incredible year, the running game was the most substantial part of this offense last season. The Falcons also have one of the best kickers in the league in Younghoe Koo.
We could be witnessing a dangerous offense if all the pieces fall into place.
Falcons Team Weakness
The Falcons’ defense is where things start to get a little iffy. Not the whole defense, mind you. This secondary has a shot to be one of the best in the NFC. But the guys up front are a bit of a question mark. Luckily, the Falcons re-signed Grady Jarrett, and he should remain their best lineman for the foreseeable future. Other than that, the Falcons didn’t do anything aside from adding veteran Venent Taylor to the mix. The Falcons hope to see some growth from Anthony Rush, Marlon Davidson, Ta’Quon Graham and John Cominsky.
Atlanta Falcons Forecast
A glance at Atlanta’s betting odds suggests they are not legitimate contenders for 2022. But that doesn’t mean they are going to be a bad team. Just maybe not good enough to snag a playoff berth. But, things are looking up with a ton of young talent and some veteran leadership to groom them. While they should be competitive on a week-to-week basis, the Falcons are still another year away from breaking back into the playoff race.