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Post-free agent signings, DraftKings has Falcons over/under for 2023 wins at 7.5

After a wave of signings, oddsmakers still like the Saints to win the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Falcons have made some concrete improvements to their team in free agency, adding one of the better safeties in football and talent up front on their defense in the form of a pair of former Saints who totaled 12 sacks a year ago. We’re a long way from being done with free agency and the NFL Draft has yet to arrive, but what have those additions done to improve the national perception of the Falcons?

If you guessed “not much,” you’d be correct. The Falcons have gotten mixed grades for their free agency haul to this point from national outlets—fans mostly seem to like ‘em—but DraftKings just released their first edition of 2023 projected win totals and the Falcons are sitting at an over/under at 7.5 wins. The Panthers, who have also bulked up their roster, are at 7.5 as well, with the Saints at 9.5 and the hapless Buccaneers at 6.5.

That’s an improvement over 2022 projections, where the Falcons were given a comically low O/U of 4.5 wins, but it’s not much of an improvement over their actual 2022 results, which saw them win 7 games. That total likely reflects skepticism over the team’s plan to roll with an unproven second-year quarterback in Desmond Ridder, continued questions about their pass rush, and the fact that they’re fresh off back-to-back seven win seasons.

The quarterback question seems to be central to these projections in general, because the Panthers look dangerous but haven’t had a chance to draft a QB yet, while the Buccaneers simply don’t seem to have a quality solution at the position. The only team with a favorable projection that has them winning more games than they lose would be New Orleans, and they’re the only team that went out and got a familiar name at quarterback in Derek Carr.

I imagine that these totals will shift as time goes on and we see what these teams do in the draft—the Panthers are going to end up with one of Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, or C.J. Stroud, while the Falcons have the draft capital to add some real talent—but I agree with Aaron Freeman that this division is likely to be a mess again with no team really running away with things. If I was going to bet on anything strongly, it’d be on the Saints failing to exceed nine wins, because I just don’t think they’re all that talented or that Carr lifts them out of their morass of mediocrity.

Personally, I’m already expecting the Falcons to win more than seven games, but they’re not a finished product yet and I get that they’ll likely need to prove they can win with Ridder before anyone outside of the most rabid and optimistic Falcons fans believe they’ll be among the NFC’s best. What do you think, though?