I’m going to get this out of the way up front: we all know the conclusion to this one. Go ahead and get the laughs in, because I am too. Even though the Falcons defense has been better in the second half of the season, this is one of the best offenses in the NFL. So yeah, go ahead and read on.
In the trenches
Have the Falcons signed or drafted anyone yet to help Grady Jarrett? No? Then this is not looking good for Atlanta. In fact, if you told me the new coach and GM were going to invest 5 picks in 2021 on the defensive line, I might tell you it’s not enough. This is a sub-par unit and the teams is begin lead in sacks by a linebacker. We have rotational guys as starters and practice squad players as rotational guys. This unit doesn’t intimidate anyone by itself.
The Chiefs have some weak spots on their line on the right side, but that’s about it. Starting on the left side, Eric Fisher is playing well, Nick Allegretti is serviceable and Austin Reiter is incredibly solid in the middle. Stefen Wisniewski is a reliable veteran while Andrew Wylie is the only true weak link on this unit. That said, Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy put these guys in a position to succeed on the regular.
It’s not close. Big surprise.
The skill positions
Atlanta has promising pieces on the back half of the defense, starting with rookie corner A.J. Terrell. His play has slipped a little as of late but he’s been regularly good this year. Keanu Neal is looking more like himself and the linebacking corps of Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun and rookie Mykal Walker look like a promising trio for the long-term. That’s about it, however. Free safety is a big issue and any corner not named Terrell has been a let down, though Isaiah Oliver has played far better in the slot. Improvements abound, but gaps remain.
Patrick Mahomes is the best QB in the NFL right now. He has few weaknesses and he plays under incredibly creative play calling to boot. Travis Kelce is the best receiving tight end in the league. Tyreek Hill is a dangerous weapon on the outside and even Sammy Watkins regularly contributes in this offense. Oh yeah, they also added Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. This is a terrifying unit. Every team in the NFL should be scared to death to face these guys.
I was going to put something here about why the Falcons might surprise some people but ... no, it’s not going to happen. I fully expect at least 30 points to be dropped on Atlanta and if they somehow hold the Chiefs to under 40, that will truly be a Christmas miracle. Oh ye of little faith? You’re damned right I am.