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Atlanta Falcons 2014 Team Preview and Predictions

Atlanta Falcons 2014 Team Preview and Predictions

The NFL Season is about to get underway in just over two months and fans clamoring for every bit of detail regarding their teams are just in luck. We are taking an early look at every team’s offseason acquisitions, their training camp updates, as well as their complete 2014 previews and projections. Read on for everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons and for more NFC South, check out our New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers previews.  

The Atlanta Falcons have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL ever since head coach Mike Smith took charge in 2008. Last year, however, the Falcons struggled to match the success of their previous seasons and finished outside of the playoff race. With some key acquisitions after the NFL’s free agency frenzy, the Falcons will hope to bounce back and return to the playoff picture.

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Atlanta Falcons 2014 Team Preview for the 2014/2015 NFL Season


2013 Regular Season Record: 4-12 SU/7-9 ATS

After their 2012 NFC Championship defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, the Falcons remained confident that their team for the 2013 season was ready to go one step further and reach their ultimate dream of playing in the Super Bowl.

[sc:NFL240banner ]Why not? Matt Ryan just had a career season, wide receiver Julio Jones had a stellar year and the ageless wonder Tony Gonzales would be returning for the 2013-14 campaign. However, the Falcons finished dead last in the NFC South with a 4-12 SU slate, their first losing record under Mike Smith in his six years in charge with the franchise. So what went wrong?

The Falcons’ running attack proved to be non-existent with a 77.9 rushing yards per game, dead last in the league. To make matters worse, they also couldn’t seem to stop their opponents’ running game as they placed 31st with 135.8 opposing rushing yards allowed per game.

The Falcons were also ravaged with injuries last season. The hardest hit position was in wide receiver, where their top receiver Julio Jones missed a huge chunk of the season because of a season-ending fracture in his right foot. Meanwhile, the equally-talented Roddy White was never fully fit last year as he battled different ailments in his hamstring, ankle and knees.

Even with a poor 4-12 SU record last year, the Falcons are primed to return to their winning ways, especially now with their key players returning from injury. They are currently third favorites at +325 to win the NFC South this season and are at +4,000 to win the whole thing and claim their first ever Super Bowl title.

Matt Ryan

Offseason Highlights

The Falcons’ main concern heading into the offseason was their problematic offensive line which contributed to them having the second worst rushing attack in the league. They went on to address this problem by signing right guard Jon Asamoah from the Kansas City Chiefs and added rookie Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick. Matthews should provide Ryan with some much-needed protection from the right tackle position. Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times last season.

Next on the list was improving their defensive line which neither stopped the run of their opponents nor put any kind of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons were the league’s second-worst team in opposing rushing yards allowed per game with 135.8 and they were only able to sack the opposing quarterback 32 times.

They signed nose tackle Paul Soliai from the Miami Dolphins and defensive end Tyron Jackson from the Kansas City Chiefs to address those concerns. Soliai at 6‘4” and 344 pounds will be a huge addition in the middle of the defensive line and will be a valuable asset in Atlanta’s 3-4 defensive set.

Jackson, on the other hand, will also be a major help in fortifying Atlanta’s run defense as he’s more than familiar with the 3-4 set when he was still with the Chiefs.

Key Betting Matchups of 2014 NFL Season

After their 4-12 season last year, there’s nowhere to go but up for Mike Smith and his Atlanta Falcons squad. With the return of their key players from injury this season, they are expected to compete once again for the NFC South, as evidenced by their season wins line set at 8.5. If they are to return to the playoffs though, they have to work hard for it as they have the 11th toughest schedule in the NFL next season.  Two of the games that will make it difficult for the Falcons are:

September 7 – vs. New Orleans Saints

There’s no better way to start your season than by meeting your division rivals. The Falcons will be afforded that opportunity, in front of their home fans no less, as they face the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons, though, have a disappointing record at home against the Saints, going 1-4 SU in their last five games. That needs to change if they want to have a good start this upcoming season.

December 28 – vs. Carolina Panthers

In their last game of the season, the Falcons will face the reigning NFC South champion Carolina Panthers in Atlanta. The Falcons are 4-1 SU in their last five home games with the Panthers but Carolina won their last encounter at the Georgia Dome by just a single point.

Writer’s Prediction

The Atlanta Falcons will improve on their 4-12 SU slate but will go under 8.5 wins as they will finish the campaign with an 8-8 record.

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Written by Joel

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