A lot of NFL insiders and fans like what’s happening with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason. But don’t count Fox Sports commentator Colin Cowherd among them.
Cowherd absolutely ripped the Falcons over/under win total for the 2023 season, which Las Vegas has set at 8.5. Cowherd called Atlanta the safest under bet in the entire league.
“The Atlanta Falcons at 8.5 wins is the strangest line I’ve ever seen,” Cowherd said. “Desmond Ridder is their quarterback. Green Bay is only at 7.5 wins, also in a wonky division, also in the NFC. But at least that quarterback, Jordan Love, has been in the system for three years.
“We’ve got like four games of Desmond Ridder. Is he the guy? He may very well be a career backup.”
Additionally, Cowherd criticized the Falcons O/U win total by comparing them to other teams.
“Minnesota won its division, 8.5 wins [O/U win total]. Atlanta 8.5 wins.
“Seattle, a playoff team, another amazing draft. 8.5 wins. The Falcons at 8.5 wins.
“The Steelers … arguably the greatest draft and they played very well at the end of the year. 8.5 wins.”
Although he implied the Falcons don’t have as strong of a team overall, Cowher’s biggest issue with the Falcons O/U win total set at 8.5 was Ridder.
“How in God’s name with Desmond Ridder, I know the division is weak, can you be an 8.5-win team? Now Atlanta has got one of the weaker schedules. I get it. But that doesn’t historically matter when you have a C quarterback.”
It’s true that the Falcons don’t really know what they have in Ridder. But general manager Terry Fontenot signed several defensive enforcements, including defensive tackle David Onyemata, outside linebacker Kaden Elliss and safety Jessie Bates III to multi-year contracts.
Furthermore, the arrival of veterans Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree on one-year deals should help the pass rush too.
On offense, the Falcons added potential starters — running back Bijan Robinson and offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron — in the first two rounds of the draft.
The Falcons aren’t guaranteed to post their first winning season since 2017. But they hardly seem to be a slam dunk to record a sixth straight losing campaign.