The Atlanta Falcons are 2-2 on the season and have played well in every game so far in 2022. NFL media appears to be taking notice.
The theme for ESPN this week was defensive improvement, and Falcons beat writer Michael Rothstein would still like to see Atlanta get off the field on third down more often.
“The Falcons are allowing opponents to convert 44% of third-down chances, ranking 24th out of the 32 teams. The defense has been much improved from a season ago, but this is the next step toward being the type of unit that defensive coordinator Dean Pees wants to have in Atlanta.” — Michael Rothstein, ESPN
Michael Hanzus of NFL.com has been a bigger fan of what he’s seen from the Falcons so far this season, but he moved Atlanta just three spots to No. 22 and left them one spot behind the Browns on his latest list.
The loss of Cordarrelle Patterson for a month may have spooked Hanzus.
“Oh, those frisky Falcons. Second-year coach Arthur Smith continued to show signs of growth with a narrow win over the Browns in which the team went over 200 yards rushing for the second time in four weeks. Rookie Tyler Allgeier rumbled for 84 yards, and Caleb Huntley chipped in with 56 yards of his own. Cordarrelle Patterson found the end zone, but the knee injury that hampered him leading into the Browns’ contest has now sent him to injured reserve for at least four weeks. Allgeier figures to get a bigger role in the offense, but the absence of Patterson will ramp up pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has run hot and cold in his four starts so far.” — Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
The Falcons have a chance to take sole possession of first place in the NFC South on Sunday when they take on the 2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady’s Bucs check in at No. 8 on both ESPN and NFL.com and enter the game an 8.5-point favorite according to MyBookie.
If the Falcons can pull off the upset in Tampa, they’ll be looking down at the rest of the NFC South in the power rankings, but more importantly, in the standing.