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Predict the Falcons offensive and defensive rankings in 2017

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The Falcons figure to be better on defense and worse on offense than they were a year ago.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In 2016, the Falcons were first in points and second in yards on offense, and 27th and 25th in those two rankings on defense. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to top their 2016 offensive performance, given the very real difficulty of repeating that performance in subsequent years.

They can, however, improve on defense. I also fully expect that they will do so, given their improving talent base and strides forward last year. This is probably the most talented defense we’ve seen in Atlanta in years, and really it’s just a matter of time before they get to be in the top half of the league on that side of the ball. I just don’t think it’ll be this year, even though I imagine they’ll get quite close.

Offensively, of course, this is a top ten unit by talent alone, and closer to top three if there’s no dropoff from Matt Ryan. I fully expect that the Falcons will terrorize defenses again, even if there’s a mild pullback due to injury or simple regression to the mean.

I’ll say fourth in scoring offense, fifth in total offense, 15 in scoring defense, and 18th in total defense. That should be good enough to get this team back into the playoffs, and it should be encouraging for anyone who wanted to see true defensive improvement from this team. With any luck, Atlanta will be able to continue on that track and keep a top ten offense for years to come.

Share your thoughts in the comments, if you would.