Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a look at the Atlanta Falcons season forecast.
The 2022 Atlanta Falcons are going to play hard whether anyone wants it to or not.
Not expected to do much this season, the Atlanta Falcons hope to prove everyone wrong by continuing to play competitive football amid their most painful rebuild yet.
Atlanta finally ripped off the Band-Aid last season. The Falcons enter the second year of the partnership of Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot. Despite being one of the least talented teams in the NFL a year ago, they still won seven games and were in the playoffs by the end of December with a starting coach and general manager. Unfortunately, they could be much worse…
Fortunately, this rebuild appears to be wrapping up soon with plenty of financial capital to use in free agency next spring. If Atlanta ends up with a top-five pick, the Falcons will have the privilege of selecting their next franchise quarterback, or potentially a total wrecker in the defensive front seven. If they’re better than advertised, Smith and Fontenot could be here to stay.
Here’s an Atlanta Falcons season preview, so expect some turbulence on this bumpy flight.
Atlanta Falcons 2021 season in review
Admittedly, it was difficult to judge what the Falcons would be last season. It was all about making a Thomas Dimitroff/Dan Quinn stink from Flowery Branch. To see also : Will the Eagles continue to be a first offense this season? | huddled birds. While both have had success in Atlanta, these Dirty Birds have been cooked since Steve Sarkisian couldn’t score in the red zone in Philadelphia in a very winnable 2017 NFC Divisional Round game.
Although Smith’s bluntness was widely appreciated for the sickeningly redundant clichés from Quinn, people wondered if Fontenot was a New Orleans Saints plant. We’ve seen owner Arthur Blank get ripped off by a wolf in sheep’s clothing before, exemplified by the four “wonderful” years that Jim Mora and Bobby Petrino led the franchise from 2004-2007.
With Julio Jones breaking up with the Falcons on Undisputed and Calvin Ridley channeling his inner Paul Hornung and Alex Karras betting on the NFL, the Falcons continued to grind because they’re freaking great at this. All the while, Matt Ryan has been putting up numbers in an offense featuring Atlanta’s new running back/cult hero Cordarrelle Patterson.
Although the offensive line leaked like a sieve (with Jalen Mayfield being the worst draft pick since Peter Konz), the defense had no idea how to replace the quarterback, and the team routinely got blown out by playoff-caliber teams, the Falcons somehow held their own against their fellow NFL cannon fodder. We have seen how Smith has improved as a coach and how the team has improved.
Despite being the No. 8 overall pick, Atlanta has honestly gotten more than it did a year ago. It wasn’t much fun being a Falcons fan, but it wasn’t Dan Quinn’s constant bullshit anymore. Unfortunately, Fontenot decided that this puppy needed a reboot in the worst way imaginable. After flirting with Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan decided he had to go too.
After briefly being the NFC South Offseason Champions following Gisele Bundchen’s short-lived retirement of Tom Brady wanting more than anything in the world, Sean Payton actually retiring, and the Carolina Panthers mostly being an ass, the Falcons are on the short list of worst teams in the NFL. Fortunately, the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks are also bad.
Finally, the Falcons are in Detroit Lions territory in 2021, man. Unfortunately, Smith isn’t as likable as Dan Campbell, man. Even though Falcons fans are freaking hungry for a champion, they’re more likely to be on Hard Knocks next year than hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, man. Surely Smith would hate Hard Knocks more than anyone alive, man.
This is a great year for Falcons fans to invest in college football on Saturdays and just let whatever happens on NFL Sundays happen. Unless you’re rooting for Auburn or Georgia Tech, then you’re totally screwed. May I instead suggest Atlanta Braves baseball before Trae Young and Dejounte Murray decide to hang it up on the hardwood for you in October?
This team won’t be bad forever, but don’t be a fool and have unrealistic expectations.
Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft class
This is the most important draft of the Smith/Fontenot era at Flowery Branch. Although they landed a Hall of Fame talent a year ago in Kyle Pitts, people were scratching their heads when Atlanta took oft-injured USC wide receiver Drake London No. To see also : 2022 NFL Season | Game Hall of Fame: JAX vs LV | Quick Thoughts. 8 overall in an incredibly deep receiving class. He went ahead of every other wide receiver who went pro.
London could be the next Mike Evans, and he could thrive playing in the same receiving corps as Pitts, but injury concerns are very real. He had one catch in the preseason before he suffered a knee injury and that was it! Rookie aside, he needs to show Falcons fans he can be a receiving target by the end of his second season in the NFL.
While Arnold Ebiketie could improve what should be another toothless pass rush for the Falcons, the real guy facing a lot of scrutiny on defense is linebacker Troy Andersen. Maybe he was “Mr. Everything” for the Montana State Bobcats, but left ahead of Georgia legend and winner Butkus Nakobe Dean. It’s not his fault, but my god…
As for other rookies to watch, it’s all about Desmond Ridder backing up Marcus Mariota. He looked fantastic in the preseason with a great deal of poise and improved throwing velocity. If he surpasses Mariota and is the real deal, then Atlanta may have drafted their version of Ryan Tannehill or Dak Prescott, which is exactly what Smith would hope for.
Running back Tyler Allgeier could provide a physical presence on the ground out of BYU. A pair of cousins are now classmates in Western Kentucky’s DeAngelo Malone and Georgia’s Justin Shaffer. Bucking a trend in recent drafts, the Falcons actually selected a pair of Dawgs in Shaffer and tight end John FitzPatrick to the delight of UGA fans.
There is a lot of promise in Atlanta’s draft class, on which future success could be built.
Previewing Atlanta Falcons offense for 2022 season
Atlanta has added some interesting pieces to its offense, including a pair of mobile running backs, 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and former Cincinnati star Desmond Rider. Drake London headlines this revamped receiving corps, with guys like Bryan Edwards coming over from the Las Vegas Raiders. See the article : IN PICTURES: A day in the life of an NFL cheerleader. Damien Williams is the new guy to carry the rock.
If Atlanta wants to get ahead on offense, it will need London to perfectly complement the dynamo of a tight end that is Kyle Pitts. For a franchise that has been elite at moving sticks through the air during Matt Ryan’s run, it will be a huge stepping stone in the right direction for Atlanta if London can immediately live up to his draft hype. Otherwise, people will turn against him…
Because as exciting as the offense can be, if someone other than Ryan is leading it for a change, none of that will matter if the offensive line looks like a useless wet paper bag again. While Jake Matthews is solid at left tackle and Chris Lindstrom is a new star at guard, Matt Hennessy is a work in progress at center, while Kaleb McGary could be a bust.
While McGary can save his career this year, Jalen Mayfield is probably on life support right now.
Previewing Atlanta Falcons defense for 2022 season
There are plenty of new faces on Atlanta’s defense, including the trio of rookie draft picks listed above, as well as three savvy veterans looking to prove themselves. Rashaan Evans reunites with Smith and Dean Pees from their time together in Nashville. Lorenzo Carter is back in Dawg Country and former Vanderbilt star Casey Hayward is back playing in his home state.
While A.J. With Terrell and Grady Jarrett being the two best players on this mediocre defense, it’s imperative that second-year pro Richie Grant live up to his draft status. Fontenot used a second-round pick on a free safety out of UCF two springs ago. If he plays like he did for Josh Heupel in Orlando, the Falcons could have an incredibly underrated secondary in 2022.
Unfortunately, it won’t matter if they can’t rush the passer if their life depended on it. Except for one year where Dwight Freeney gave Vic Beasley all the answers to the test, Atlanta was terrible at getting after the quarterback. Forever chasing the ghost of John Abraham, nothing will change in Atlanta until this brutal bottleneck is resolved.
Pees took it upon himself to keep his Falcons defense from being a national embarrassment.
Atlanta Falcons coaching staff overview
This is an important year for the Sokol coaching staff. No, I don’t think anyone will get fired because the lack of talent on this roster is not the coaching staff’s fault. However, it must be clear that Smith still has guys buying in, that Pees can improve this porous defense, and that Dave Ragone is more than just an offensive coordinator at his job.
Smith will still likely call the plays, but he could give Ragone a little more responsibility in coaching the skill position players. Smith trusted Pees to take full control of this defense. The man is in his 70s and has seen it all. His side of the ball needs to play up to what should be an underrated offense for the Dirty Birds. Otherwise, this season is lost.
As for a future head coaching candidate, we are years away from that happening in Atlanta. However, quarterbacks coach Charles London appears to be on the fast track to something special on this staff. If he can play a role in Ridder’s development, he could be tabbed as a future head coaching candidate if this era of Falcons football wins big.
Atlanta isn’t devoid of coaching talent, but it’s up to the staff to get the most out of this team.
Atlanta Falcons Awards Watch
This won’t be the year the Falcons clean up in the slightest during awards season, but keep an eye on these three stars in the making for them.
Kyle Pitts, MVP
In order for Kyle Pitts to win the NFL MVP, not only will hell have to freeze over, but he will have to have the best season in league history by the end. He was a Pro Bowler last year in his rookie season out of Florida, and nearly broke Mike Ditka’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie tight end ever. Pitts is certainly a total mismatch as a pass catcher.
Overall, Pitts is on a Hall of Fame trajectory at the tight end position. He projects to be something like Antonio Gates or Darren Waller. While he’s probably still a year or two away from being in the running for the best tight end in football, look for him to make that a reality before his rookie contract in Atlanta expires. The Dirty Birds made an all-timer.
Desmond Ridder, Offensive Rookie of the Year
If any Atlanta player is capable of winning the big award, it would have to be rookie running back Desmond Ridder. The third-round pick out of Cincinnati has certainly turned heads in the preseason with his confidence at the line of scrimmage, his ability in the dual-threat game and this newfound quickness he has when it comes to throwing the football down the stretch.
Of course, for Ridder to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, he’ll have to wrest the starting job away from Marcus Mariota. While Mariota is a former No. 2 overall pick and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Oregon, he has a tendency to get hurt. Even if the Falcons have a limited ceiling at quarterback this year, they’re not that hopelessly bad.
If Ridder can play with the poise he showed under Luke Fickell in college, Atlanta could have something special at quarterback. The Falcons have had plenty of great quarterbacks in their history, but very rarely does that guy come out of college. Ridder could buck the trend in the most spectacular way possible.
A.J. Terrell, Defensive Player of the Year
For those of you who don’t understand how good A.J. It’s Terrell, listen. Terrell Island is about to become a thing, not just in front of his hometown crowd. The former Clemson and Westlake star is playing with a confidence beyond numbers that we haven’t seen from a Falcons defensive back since Deion Sanders. You’re damn right, I went there with that comp!
For Terrell to be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, he needs to get lucky on a few passes. The numbers don’t really tell the story when it comes to his style of play. Take what Desmond Trufant was at the height of his powers in an Atlanta uniform, project it a little and that’s what the Falcons have in their star quarterback: An absolute gem!
Biggest game on Atlanta Falcons schedule in 2022
If Atlanta is just going to win games anyway, what could turn things around in the Falcons’ favor is a Week 4 matchup at home against the Cleveland Browns. With Jacoby Brissett starting at quarterback in place of the suspended Deshaun Watson, it’s no guarantee the Browns will come to Atlanta and get the W. Atlanta could actually start the year with a 3-1 win here.
Since they open at home against the arch-rival New Orleans Saints, a bad team that doesn’t know it’s bad yet can beat Jameis Winston, Dennis Allen and company and start the year 1-0. While the Los Angeles Rams game is a loss, the Seattle Seahawks can be insignificant. The Falcons have a chance to beat Geno Smith and Pete Carroll on their trip to the Pacific Northwest.
If Atlanta beats Cleveland, the Falcons could win 10 games if every rebound goes their way.
Atlanta Falcons season prediction: Best case scenario
So you’ve had the Coca-Cola Kool-Aid laced with alcohol and awesome lemon pepper wings? You’re one of a kind, as an optimistic Atlanta Falcons fan in a great 2022. The spirit you have is unbreakable, or you’re five years old and don’t know any better. On the other hand, the 2008 Falcons team was supposed to be a total ass and that team made the NFC playoffs.
Unrealistically, this team can go 10-7 and be this year’s Philadelphia Eagles. For that to happen, Atlanta starts the year with 3-1 wins over the Saints, at the Seahawks and at the Browns. I don’t know how you beat the Buccaneers in Tampa, the 49ers at home, or the Bengals in Cincinnati, but one of those teams could be bad for all we know. Maybe they steal the win there?
After that, you have to sweep Carolina and beat the Bears, Commanders and Steelers back-to-back. If Brandon Staley is a fraud as a head coach, then maybe you beat the Bolts and ride a six-game winning streak and go into the bye? It doesn’t happen because this is the Falcons, but it’s certainly the softest part of their regular season schedule.
The question is how many games can be won after the bye. You are not cleaning the saints, so stop. It doesn’t happen in Baltimore, but maybe the Dirty Birds split a pair between the Cardinals and Bucs at home? True, there are only five or so games that the Falcons don’t win under any circumstances, but for the rest, we’ll have to see.
Arthur Smith is Coach of the Year, Desmond Ridder is Offensive Rookie of the Year, and A.J. Terrell wins NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while the Falcons go 10-7 or even 11-6 in 2022 and make the freaking playoffs!
Okay, wake up, you fool!
Atlanta Falcons season prediction: Worst-case scenario
Disclaimer: You can’t break me, you can’t break us, because we are unbreakable because we are already broken!
Will the Falcons be the worst team in the NFL? They could, but I think there are more positives for this team than Chicago, Seattle, or both New York teams for that matter. Unfortunately, we’re digging pain ’round here. It’s not a good time, but in the same metroplex where the World Series and College Football Playoff titles are being defended, somebody has to be shit.
If it hits home fans, Atlanta won’t win their first game until the day before Halloween against the Carolina Got Dam Panthers. Win No. 2 comes against the Bears at home, and maybe get a third before a bye at either the Washington Commanders or the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of a 90 percent pro-Steelers crowd at The Benz. And that will be it for the 2022 Falcons!
They did it! They fucking did it! Atlanta went 2-15 to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Between CJ Stroud, Bryce Young or whoever ends up being considered the best quarterback, the Falcons draft Ryan Leaf. The Dirty Birds would experience their worst run since the 1980s. Do we want to live in a post-Bart but pre-2 Legit 2 Quit era, everyone?
I don’t think he’s going to be rotten, but I certainly don’t think they’re going to the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons season prediction for 2022
Will the Falcons be worse than a year ago? Yes, but not as much as you think. They will be somewhere around a 4-13 to 6-11 team this year. While I don’t think they beat Tampa Bay, they split with the Saints and potentially swept the Panthers, so that puts the Dirty Birds in the 2-4 to 3-3 range in divisional play. The problem is the other games…
So they don’t beat the Rams and they don’t beat the Ravens. San Francisco, Cincinnati, Chargers and Arizona are also likely losses. As for the other five games (at Seattle, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, Pittsburgh), the best they can do is go 3-2, maybe 4-1 if the Falcons beat the Seahawks and Browns back-to-back very early.
This team will be picking in the top 10, but if they can beat teams that are probably only slightly better than them in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington, it will be closer to 10 than once. However, if the Falcons lose to Chicago and Seattle, they will have the No. 1 overall pick. At the end of the day, this team isn’t going to falter and die, winning about five games.
Look for Atlanta to take Will Anderson Jr., Jalen Carter or Bryce Young with their top five.
Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview here. For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out Blogging Dirty.