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Atlanta Falcons 2018 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/28/2018.


Atlanta Falcons Free Agency Recap


Atlanta lost Dontari Poe to the Carolina Panthers. They replaced him with Terrell McClain in Free Agency. Atlanta got Brandon Fusco hoping he'd revert to the talented right guard he was when his career first began.



Atlanta Falcons Draft Recap


The Falcons drafted Calvin Ridley as a slot receiver in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. They spent a second round pick on Isaiah Oliver out of Colorado who is the front runner to be the nickel cornerback. They spent a third rond pick on Deadrin Senat who is going to develop behind Terrell McClain for a year. Grady Jarrett is also in a contract year so Senat may end up starting by 2019.




Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Summary: Matt Ryan had to transition with a new offensive coordinator. He still did pretty well in 2017. Steve Sarkisian returns for his second season as an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons. Gregg Knapp, a former offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons is the quarterbacks coach with Atlanta.


Atlanta Falcons Running Back Summary: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have both improved as pass catchers in training camp. Dan Quinn expects career years from both running backs. You also added Ito Smith as a third string running back for depth in the 2018 NFL Draft after Brian Hill got cut from the Atlanta Falcons as a rookie.


Running back coach Bernie Parmalee was the running backs coach with the Oakland Raiders for the past three seasons. He joins the Atlanta Falcons as their new running backs coach.


Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Summary: Julio Jones is Atlanta's #1 flanker receiver. Mohammed Sanu is the #2 secondary receiver. Calvin Ridley is Atlanta's slot receiver Justin Hardy is Atlanta's depth receiver and he may come in during four wide receiver sets. The rest of these receivers are backups and have no business on the field. Raheem Morris is the assistant head coach. Morris is better with developing players on defense, but he's the wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator where he will call passing plays on offense during practice sessions.


Atlanta Falcons Tight End Summary: Atlanta finally came to their senses and made Austin Hooper the starting tight end. Hooper found his spot at tight end. Wade Harmon returns as the tight ends coach.


Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line Summary: Atlanta has Jake Matthews at left tackle, Andy Levitre at left guard, Alex Mack at center, and Ryan Schrader at right tackle. The right guard spot is the big weakness on this offensive line, but you got Wes Schweitzer and Brandon Fusco pushing for the starting right guard spot. Chris Morgan is the only offensive positional coach from last years Super Bowl 51 squad that is returning. That's one bright spot for Atlanta as far as coaching goes. Morgan did so well he got promoted to running game coordinator.


Atlanta has enough talent to be a top 10 offense in points scored, total yards per game, passing yards, and rushing yards. If they had consistent coaching across the board, you could argue this would be a top 5 offense in every offensive category.



Atlanta Falcons Defensive Line Summary: Atlanta is going to put Vic Beasley at the LEO which is where most 4-3 right ends line up. Takkarist McKinley will play across from him. Terrell McClain and Grady Jarrett will start at 4-3 defensive tackle with Deadrin Senat for depth.


Head Coach Dan Quinn specializes in developing defensive linemen. Bryant Young takes over as the new defensive line coach.


Atlanta Falcons Linebacker Summary: Atlanta will have D'Vondre Campbell at 4-3 right outside linebacker. Deion Jones will start at 4-3 middle linebacker. Duke Riley will start at 4-3 left outside linebacker.


The Falcons have Jeff Ulbrich returning as their linebackers coach. That's one bright spot when you consider he's the one returning positional coach on defense.


Atlanta Falcons Defensive Backs Summary: Atlanta has Desmond Trufant as their #1 field cornerback with Robert Alford playing the #2 boundary cornerback role across from Trufant. Isaiah Oliver is the nickel cornerback. Brian Poole can play dime cornerback. Keanu Neal is going to start at strong safety with Ricardo Allen playing free safety. Damontae Kazee is gonna provide depth at strong safety. Ron Parker provides depth at free safety.


Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel was the defensive backs coach last year, and he did a very good job with this unit leading to his promotion at defensive coordinator. Doug Mallary returns for his second season as the defensive backs coach.


The Falcons defense looks a lot better. I think Atlanta can be a top 12 defense in sacks. I also think Atlanta can have a top 15 defense in points allowed, total yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed. I see potentially a top 10 pass defense.



Atlanta Falcons Special Teams Summary: Atlanta has one of the best special teams units. They have Matt Bryant at kicker, Matt Bosher at punter, and Justin Hardy as a return specialist. Keith Armstrong is one of the best special teams coordinators in the entire NFL.




Atlanta Falcons Worst Case Scenario: The Atlanta Falcons post a winning record and miss the playoffs. This team will win a minimum of 10 games. That should be good enough for them to make the playoffs. At the very worst this is the seventh best team in the NFC.


Atlanta Falcons Best Case Scenario: Atlanta wins the NFC South and wins a wild card game. They return to the divisional round in the NFL Playoffs for the third year in a row.


Atlanta Falcons 2018 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 6
AT
8:20 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 2
September 16
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 3
September 23
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 4
September 30
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 5
October 7
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 6
October 14
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 7
October 22
VS
8:15 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 8
Bye Week
Week 9
November 4
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 10
November 11
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 11
November 18
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 12
November 22
AT
8:20 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 13
December 2
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 14
December 9
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 15
December 16
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 16
December 23
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 17
December 30
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L


Atlanta Falcons 2018 Projected Record (10-6): Atlanta has a lot of talent. They have a enough talent and experience to reclaim the NFC South Division due to strength of schedule. I'm not sure this team is deep enough to get back to the Super Bowl though.


I have Atlanta winning this division at 10-6. I have New Orleans finishing second in the NFC South at 8-8. Carolina finished third in my NFC South projections at 7-9. Tampa Bay is most likely to be the bottom feeder of this division again. I have them at 6-10.


I have Atlanta beating Detroit in the wild card round. I have them losing to my top seeded NFC Team in the Divisional Round though.









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