The Atlanta Falcons haven’t been to the playoffs since 2017. In fact, they haven’t been above .500 in that stretch either.
After back to back 7-10 seasons with a skeleton-crew roster, expectations are on the rise in Atlanta. NFL.com’s Adam Schein predicts the Falcons will be back in the playoffs in 2022.
“I really like the feel of Arthur Smith’s team, largely because of … well … Arthur Smith,” wrote Schein on NFL.com. “He’s an offensive guru, a detail-obsessed workaholic. That’s why Atlanta is in almost every game it plays, regardless of opponent. Some people dwell on the fact that he’s gone 7-10 in each of his first two years in the big chair. I still think the world of Smith — and believe he’ll benefit greatly from a highly productive offseason in Atlanta.”
Ironically, I think highly of Smith because of those back to back 7-10 win seasons. The Falcons had $83 million tied up in players who were no longer Atlanta Falcons (dead cap). Considering the salary cap was roughly $200 million last year, Atlanta worked with 60% of the cap in 2022.
7-10 was outstanding work the last two years, and that included general manager Terry Fontenot who also gets praise from Schein.
“I love how GM Terry Fontenot attacked free agency and the draft,” wrote Schein. “Let’s start with the latter, where the Falcons boldly selected RB Bijan Robinson at No. 8 overall. Absolutely loved the pick. Miss me with the positional-value talk — Robinson’s a unique offensive weapon who’ll drive defensive coordinators crazy right off the bat. You think it’s going to be fun game-planning for an offense that has Bijan, Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson? And getting back to free agency for a second, Fontenot improved the defense at every level, adding guys like defensive linemen Calais Campbell and David Onyemata, linebacker Kaden Elliss and safety Jessie Bates.”
“I think the Falcons can win 10 games this year and make the playoffs via the wild card.”
Schein doesn’t even mention running back Tyler Allgeier coming off a Falcons’ rookie record and can provide the thunder to Robinson’s lightning.
A lot is riding on the shoulders of quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ridder doesn’t have to be a Pro Bowl player to make this offense tick. The Falcons built and excellent offensive line and surrounded Ridder with playmakers.
He needs to be consistent and take care of the ball, something the Falcons lacked in Marcus Mariota last season.
The Falcons survived cap hell the last two seasons, and now expectations are on the rise. Schein has already bought in.