The Falcons don’t have many believers outside of the building this season; even some of the fans are pessimistic about where this team is headed. And rightfully so; Atlanta hasn’t exactly inspired confidence in the fan base since the new regime took over. In their first year, Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot put together a seven-win season, with wins coming against teams who would end up picking at the top of this year’s draft. It’s hard to decipher the floor and ceiling of the 2022 squad, but NFL.com attempted to.
If we’re being completely honest, three wins is much more likely than seven wins this season. For the Falcons to reach seven wins, everything has to go right. The offensive line has to take significant strides. Dwayne Ledford will have to solidify two of the three positions up for grabs — left guard, center, and right tackle. Drake London will have to have a similar rookie season as Kyle Pitts, and Marcus Mariota will have to return to his 2016 form. That’s just on the offensive side of the ball.
The defense will have to get some unexpected contributions from some young guys. Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, Ade Ogundeji, Richie Grant, and Jaylinn Hawkins will all have to become average to above-average starters for Dean Pees.
But what’s more likely is that the Falcons will come up short in many of these areas. The offensive line will be horrendous again, and will require some maestro-level play calling and design from Arthur Smith to work around. I do believe London will have a stellar rookie season, but there’s no way Mariota returns to his peak form. The defense should take a step forward, but it’s probably overzealous to expect all of the aforementioned youngsters to take big steps forward in unison.
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