One constant with the Atlanta Falcons and the entire NFL is consistent change.
Nearly every year since 1990, five new teams that didn’t make the playoffs the year before have earned a postseason bid. Since playoff expansion in 2020, seven new teams have made the playoffs the past two seasons.
Yep, that’s correct. Half of the league’s playoff field changed in 2021 and 2022.
With that in mind, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson constructed a list of seven teams who could make the NFL playoffs in 2023 after missing the postseason last year. Brinson named the Falcons one of his seven teams.
“The NFC is pretty weak overall, and the NFC South is completely wide open this year,” Brinson wrote. “The Buccaneers look primed to cough up the NFC South mantle after Tom Brady took home back-to-back division titles before retiring.
“If you’re writing one of these “teams to make or miss the postseason” and you’re not using the NFC South, you should rethink your strategy.”
Brinson makes the Falcons sound like one of his seven options by default. That’s nothing new.
The NFC South didn’t have a team with a winning record last year. Plus, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady retired. The division appears to be wide open and is an easy pick to change champions this fall.
But there are reasons to be excited about the Falcons besides the division they are in.
The Falcons have built a young collection of offensive weapons. In the top 10 of the past three drafts, the Falcons selected tight end Kyle Pitts, wide receiver Drake London and running back Bijan Robinson.
If quarterback Desmond Ridder can be even average this fall, the Falcons have the talent to be a top 10 offense.
General manager addressed needs on defense as well. The Falcons signed veterans David Onyemata and Calais Campbell is shore up the defensive line. They also added Bud Dupree and Kaden Elliss to improve the pass rush.
But Atlanta’s biggest defensive signing was arguably safety Jessie Bates. He is a major secondary upgrade.
The Falcons also signed cornerback Mike Hughes and traded for former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah.
Those offseason moves combined with the weak NFC South has the Falcons thinking playoffs in 2023.