The Falcons have gotten by with an effective offense and not much in the way of defense for years now. We're hoping the latter trend reverses itself, but will the Falcons continue to have one of the NFL's more effective offenses in 2015?
There are reasons to lean optimistic here, but there's also one or two great reasons to go the other way. On the plus side, the Falcons still have Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Devin Hester, all valuable pieces, and they'll have a zone blocking scheme that may help juice an anemic ground game. On the negative side, there's not a single established running back, there's a legitimate hole at left guard, the receiving corps will be weaker if the team doesn't address the position in the draft and there's still not a lot of inspiring choices at tight end.
The Falcons last year were ranked 8th in total yardage and yards per game, 5th in passing yards, 24th in rushing yards and 12th in points, a pretty good showing considering how banged up the offensive line was and how useless the ground game ended up being. If they can get toward the middle of the pack in rushing, they can weather the (perhaps inevitable) regression in passing effectiveness quite well. I'm hoping their scoring and scoring efficiency go up under Kyle Shanahan, however.
I'm putting a lot of ifs and assumptions into this because we don't know exactly what the team and its offense will look like, but I'd expect a performance that's about the same to slightly better than a year ago. If you can pair that with genuine defensive improvement, this team will obviously be much more dangerous than it was the last two seasons.
What do you think?