2023 Atlanta Falcons Predictions with Season Win Total Odds
Right now, Desmond Ridder might be my favorite player in the NFL.
That one guy is creating a high-value betting situation with one of my favorite teams heading into 2023.
Bettors, oddsmakers, fans and anyone watching the NFL doesn’t know what to make of Ridder, Atlanta’s presumed starting quarterback heading into the season. No one knows what to expect from him, so they don’t know what to expect from the Falcons.
Well, let me be the first one on the bandwagon, because I like everything this team did in the offseason and I am bullish about the direction of this squad.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL expert picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
ATLANTA FALCONS 2023 OFFENSE
Ridder was generally unimpressive in four late-season starts during his rookie year. He was ultraconservative and didn’t wow anyone. That’s fine.
But I feel like people aren’t giving head coach Arthur Smith enough credit. The guy had two Top 10 offenses in Tennessee (and the Titans offense has gone over a cliff since he left). Atlanta went from No. 26 in scoring in 2021 with Matt Ryan to No. 15 in scoring last year with Marcus Mariota.
Maybe Smith knows what he’s doing. And if he feels confident in Ridder, that’s good enough for me.
Atlanta has some Dudes on offense. Kyle Pitts is a Dude. London Drake is a Dude. Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier and Cord Patterson – Dudes. The size and athleticism Atlanta has at the skill positions (guys like Mack Hollins and Jonnu Smith are pretty big as well) is impressive.
When I look at the talent level and pedigree of London, Pitts and Robinson, what comes to mind is an offense that’s being built similar to what the 49ers have in San Francisco.
The Falcons offensive line has finally matured and is solid. The group is still lacking in pass protection. But Atlanta’s line mauled its way to the No. 2 rushing attack in football last year and should be even more potent this season.
I think that the Falcons offense is going to be legit. They are going to pound the ball down people’s throats with Allgeier, Robinson and Patterson, while their mammoth receivers are going to bully people in the red zone.
ATLANTA FALCONS 2023 DEFENSE
The Falcons defense has been completely overhauled. Atlanta invested heavily in free agency this offseason, acquiring guys like Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree, Kaden Ellis and Jessie Bates.
Atlanta also grabbed a new defensive coordinator, with former Saints assistant Ryan Nielsen taking over for Dean Pees. Nielsen brough Ellis and lineman David Onyemata with him from New Orleans and should put the Falcons in a much more aggressive posture.
Bates is one of the top safeties in football and leads a secondary that may the most improved in the NFC. A.J. Terrell is a Pro Bowl talent. And the Falcons bought low on guys like Jeff Okudah, Mike Hughes and Tre Flowers.
The story of the Falcons defense for the past two decades has been all about the pass rush. More specifically, Atlanta’s lack of pass rush.
Atlanta has finished either last or second-to-last in sacks each of the past two seasons. Only one Falcon (Vic Beasley in 2016) has recorded 10 or more sacks in a season over the past decade, and Atlanta hasn’t had a consistent presence at defensive end since John Abraham in 2012.
The hope is that Campbell, Onyemata and Dupree can all help underrated Grady Jarrett lift the load in the pass rush. If they can do that, it should also help the team improve its No. 28 ranking in takeaways.
ATLANTA FALCONS 2023 SCHEDULE
Sun, Sep 10 1:00 PM vs. Carolina Panthers
Sun, Sep 17 1:00 PM vs. Green Bay Packers
Sun, Sep 24 1:00 PM @ Detroit Lions
Sun, Oct 1 9:30 AM @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun, Oct 8 1:00 PM vs. Houston Texans
Sun, Oct 15 1:00 PM vs. Washington Redskins
Sun, Oct 22 1:00 PM @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, Oct 29 1:00 PM @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, Nov 5 1:00 PM vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sun, Nov 12 4:05 PM @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, Nov 26 1:00 PM vs. New Orleans Saints
Sun, Dec 3 1:00 PM @ New York Jets
Sun, Dec 10 1:00 PM vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, Dec 17 7:00 PM @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, Dec 24 1:00 PM vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sun, Dec 31 1:00 PM @ Chicago Bears
Sun, Jan 7 7:00 PM @ New Orleans Saints
ATLANTA FALCONS 2023 SEASON PICKS AND PREDICTIONS
I don’t think that Smith gets enough credit for going 7-10 each of the past two seasons. Atlanta has had one of the worst rosters in the NFL each of the past two years. They were completely rebuilding. Yet Smith had them competitive even when the team was retooling.
To wit: only two of their top 22 players from the 2021 defense (Jarrett and Terrell) are still on the team. Also, only three of their top 20 skill position players are still on the roster.
Atlanta went through an entire rebuilding period without anyone realizing it.
Now the Falcons are a clear sleeper in a wide-open NFC South. New Orleans (+135) is the favorite to win the division because they have more proven veteran talent. Atlanta is right on their heels, though, and the Falcons have more young players entering their prime. Atlanta also has a better coach and better salary cap situation.
The Falcons also benefit from one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Nine of their first 10 games are against teams that I have ranked below Atlanta in my power rankings. They also have winnable late-season home games against the Bucs and Colts.
After five straight losing seasons, the Falcons are back. Both their short- and long-term prospects look very good and I am buying into this team. I think they are going to fly over 8.5 wins.
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