Our Atlanta Falcons are coming off one of their best seasons in franchise history. Though the 11-5 regular season record is not the best in franchise history, they set all sorts of offensive records along the way while making their second Super Bowl appearance. How well will they do in 2017?
As noted, the team went 11-5 in 2016. Here’s a look records for the previous 5 seasons:
In those 6 years, the Falcons averaged 8.6 wins, which roughly translates to a 9-7 record.
Our target number
Based on those numbers and the overall strength of the NFC South, we’re going to put the Falcons win target number at 10.
Why they’ll go under
The 2016 Falcons reached those 11 wins on the back of one of the best offenses of all time, which has lost it’s coordinator for this season. Matt Ryan had an MVP season while multiple offensive players had their best seasons ever. Taylor Gabriel, Tevin Coleman and Mohamed Sanu all contributed in big ways where they had not in the past. Having all of these things go perfectly again may be too much to ask.
Additionally, the offensive line started all 16 games - a very rare feat in the NFL. Counting on them to do the same this year is foolhardy. The Falcons also won’t be able to sneak up on teams anymore, given that they’re the NFC Champions. Finally, the Super Bowl loss could loom over this team (as it did with Carolina).
Why they’ll go over
The young core of this defense really began to come alive at the end of 2016, with impressive performances in both NFC playoff games and 3 quarters of domination in the Super Bowl. The young defense may be ready to take a big leap this year, taking a load of pressure off the offense. As for the offense, even though they lost Kyle Shanahan, they will be keeping the same system in place.
The team also did not lose any significant players this off-season, which is highly abnormal for teams that just went to the Super Bowl. As for the Super Bowl hangover, the 2015 Panthers are not the norm. Many teams that went to the big dance the previous year were able to make it back to the playoffs the next season.
Over/Under: 10 wins
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