The Atlanta Falcons made it to the playoffs last year after the Super Bowl run of two seasons ago, but never reached the same epic heights. The core of the offense remains intact as Atlanta hopes to become an elite scoring unit once again. The Falcons may not be quite be in the stratosphere of top NFC teams, but they are right in the tier below and have the capability to beat anyone on a given night.
The Falcons have to battle the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South, so a division title is certainly not a given. But Atlanta should certainly be right in the mix and another playoff appearance is very realistic. The Falcons have a high ceiling because they have veteran stars at a lot of key positions. Their defense has gradually improved the past couple of years and if it can become a top-ten group, the ceiling would raise on this team’s potential.
The Falcons should once again be among the cream of the NFC crop and another double-digit win season is doable in NFL gambling.
Atlanta Falcons Opening Futures Odds at BookMaker.eu
Falcons Over 9.5 Wins + 108
Falcons Under 9.5 Wins - 130
2018 Falcons Offense Preview
Quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL’s MVP award in 2016 and was good but not great in 2017. He is aiming to recreate the type of production he saw two years ago, and will once again have one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL to target. There was some drama surrounding the usually drama-free Julio Jones this offseason because he wanted his contract re-worked, but the Falcons acquiesced to make it a non-issue. Jones should once again be among the league leaders in receiving yards in 2018.
The Falcons added Calvin Ridley in the draft and if he can emerge as the No. 2 receiver, it would be a big development. The running game should be solid once again with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman producing a nice 1 - 2 punch.
The Falcons were unstoppable toward the end of the 2016 season but took a step back last year when offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left to take the 49ers job. Atlanta hopes to get back on track and become elite again. The pieces are certainly there to make it work.
2018 Falcons Defense Preview
Atlanta is known for its offense, but the defense definitely saw improvement last season under first-year defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel and hopes to continue to trend in that direction. Pass-rusher Vic Beasley, who led the league in sacks in 2016, is moving to back to defensive end full-time this season after splitting time at outside linebacker last year. He will look to match the type of season he had two years ago for the Falcons. Defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Terrell McClain are two standouts on the interior line, and will be key in stopping the run.
Third-year linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal, both of who are coming off Pro Bowl seasons last year, will be two more key players for the Falcons on defense as well as a pair of reliable cornerbacks in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. As a unit, the Falcons will focus on creating more turnovers this season, and getting the ball back to their talented offense as quickly as possible.
2018 Atlanta Falcons Schedule Analysis
The Falcons will be tested right out of the gate this year, facing off against the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in a primetime Thursday night matchup on the road in Week 1. They return home to take on two tough divisional opponents in the Panthers and the Saints before heading to Pittsburgh in Week 5 to take on the Steelers, who are always tough to beat, especially on the road.
There is an opportunity to pick up some key wins in the middle of the season before two more tough road games in a rematch Saints in Week 12 and the Packers in Week 14. The Falcons must take advantage of winning the games they’re favored in this season because there are going to be a lot of tossups in this tough schedule and every win matters.
The Final Verdict
The Atlanta Falcons bring back a great deal of talent and can be Super Bowl contenders if everything clicks. It all comes down to whether or not the offense can return to an elite level. With Ryan and Jones leading the way, this team should once again be among the league leaders in points scored. Even though the schedule is not easy, the Falcons are good enough to pile up the wins and make a return trip to the playoffs. The over is the correct call on the team’s regular season win total in NFL gambling.
NFL Odds: Atlanta Falcons Over 9.5 Wins ( + 108)
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