We’ve almost made it to the light. After going through the famine of the dead period, indulging in the crumbs of Training Camp, and finally digesting the broccoli that is Preseason, the NFL Regular Season is finally upon us.
Naturally, we can’t let the season start without having the Falcoholic staff make our official predictions. We also need to get them down in writing for official documentation. This will make things easier when it comes time for either praise or ridicule, in the future.
Let’s get things rolling.
I’ve been openly optimistic about the Falcons’ prospects this season for a long time. With key contributors returning from injury on defense, the offensive line revamp unlocking the offense, and the massive coaching staff upgrades featuring a seasoned offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter), a clock management coach (Bob Sutton), and a gifted defensive play-caller (Dan Quinn), this team should reach new levels.
I don’t think the Falcons have ever gone into a season with a unit this talented, and there will be serious questions to be answered if this team underperforms. 13 of the team’s 16 games this season will be in a dome stadium. Between you and me, I have a feeling that one or two playoff games will also be in a dome.
All offseason, I’ve consistently said that this team will win 12 games. I’ll back off that prediction ever so slightly because I’m sure we’ll see them lose to an AFC opponent they have no business losing to, as is tradition. Make no mistake about it though, the Atlanta Falcons will still be true NFC contenders in 2019. Record Prediction: 11-5
The talent is there. On both sides of the ball. I think this offensive line will eventually come together, though it could be rough sledding at first and that could hamper the overall record just a bit. A top five offense? Yes, absolutely. On the defensive side, Dan Quinn will be the biggest upgrade for the team. I believe his hands on approach with Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley will pay off. I think McKinley in particular is headed for a big year. That said, the Falcons still have one of the hardest schedules coming up and the first few games could be brutal. I think the NFC South and the playoffs are in reach, but it won’t be easy. Record Prediction: 10-6
As others note, the Falcons roster, on paper, is absolutely stacked. The same was true last season before a rash of injuries tore through the team. There are new coaches, too, but still with plenty of unknowns: can Ben Kotwica turn around a consistently mediocre special teams unit; can Dan Quinn help make the improvements at defensive line; will Dirk Koetter be stuck running some mishmash scheme that incorporates Kyle Shanahan’s concepts? The old coaches left something to be desired but the team now lacks some continuity. I think a 13 win season is nearly just as likely as a 6 win season. I’ll play it safe. Record Prediction: 9-7
I actually think the Falcons are going to be pretty darn good this year. Coming off an uninspired 8-8 campaign marred by injuries, stunted growth and questionable coaching, the team is absolutely poised to rebound. As long as the team gets that right tackle spot settled with Kaleb McGary’s health, the offense should be quite good, if not absolutely great. Dirk Koetter is going to be better than any of us give him credit for right now, and Matt Ryan will have a really nice year with all these weapons and hopefully-improved protection. It’s the defense that gives you pause, but the defensive line hasn’t looked half bad in preseason. The cornerback uncertainty is a little worrisome, but unknown variables follow any season. It’ll be a tough year, as they always are, but I’m hopeful. Record Prediction: 11-5
It’s difficult to follow what everyone else has said, but I think the Falcons have a lot of promise entering the 2019 season. The offense now has a competent play-caller and the defense has only gotten healthier and stronger, not to mention it once again has Dan Quinn calling the plays. Also, Matt Bryant is back to save us whenever our offense stalls in field goal range. Our schedule is tough, but I believe in the Ric Flair saying “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.” Record Prediction: 10-6
I’ve been at this long enough that I ought to know better, right?
The truth is that aside from the sheer weirdness of the way they’ve managed some player contracts and the fact that they did not trade for Jadeveon Clowney and make things right, the Falcons have nailed this offseason. I’m not sure Dirk Koetter is a big upgrade on Steve Sarkisian, but if the offensive line is better they ought to be better, and they’ve poured resources into that. The defense looks genuinely upgraded, and that’s without accounting for growth from Isaiah Oliver, Takk McKinley, and Deadrin Senat, which I do believe we’ll see. This team is as good as it’s looked in the Dan Quinn era on paper, and despite a difficult schedule I think they’ve got enough firepower to hang with any team.
Call me a sucker if you will, but this ought to be a very good year. Record Prediction: 11-5
The Falcons are going to have a strong roster in 2019 on both sides of the ball. Atlanta’s offense may be the most talented in the league, with a stable of RBs, the best WR trio in football, a Pro Bowl TE, and an offensive line that just received a talent infusion in the form of two first-round picks. With Steve Sarkisian no longer holding the team back and the experienced Dirk Koetter taking the reins, anything less than a top-5 offense would be a disappointment for the Falcons.
On defense, this is a unit brimming with potential that just needs to find a way to put it all together. The DL finally looks like a force to be reckoned with, the LBs have their star in Deion Jones and solid depth behind him, and the secondary is loaded with talent. They’ll need to prove themselves against a tough early slate of offenses, but I think Atlanta’s defense—now under the full control of Dan Quinn—could be one of the biggest surprises of 2019.
If you put those two ingredients together, I think the Falcons are a strong contender this season. Obviously, the “great equalizer” remains a factor, but I’m choosing to believe this season. In a stacked NFC, the Falcons will have a tough road ahead—but they’ll reach the end with a playoff berth. Record Prediction: 10-6