Re-visiting our preseason predictions with 4 video games to go

Predictions are straightforward to make and hard to defend. Even essentially the most prescient fan, analyst, or knowledgeable usually makes wildly inaccurate predictions about how the NFL season goes to unfold, and we’re undoubtedly no exception. We additionally, both by smarts or success, generally nail these predictions.

With that in thoughts and the bye week giving us somewhat leisure time, I’ve requested the employees right here at The Falcoholic to look again at their report predictions and provides us each their greatest and worst prediction for the 2022 season up to now. Let’s get to it.

File prediction: 7-10

Finest prediction: Tyler Allgeier will lead the staff in dashing

Worst prediction: The protection might be considerably improved

I nonetheless have religion the Falcons will ship a 7-10 report—they’ve been unbelievably shaky for the higher a part of two months now and nonetheless nearly received a number of video games they in the end misplaced—however not quite a lot of religion that the protection goes to seek out its footing. With some personnel upgrades and one other yr with Dean Pees to grump expertly over the protection, I assumed we’d see important positive factors that might carry the Falcons up someplace between the 16-Twenty fourth greatest protection within the NFL. As a substitute, they’re as soon as once more one of many very worst in the whole league, and I used to be lured in by a dream that by no means appears to return to fruition. The hope is that this offseason delivers the type of impression free brokers and draft picks (to not point out progress from key gamers like Arnold Ebiketie and Richie Grant) that lastly permits this protection to take a serious step ahead.

My religion in Allgeier wasn’t misplaced, although. The rookie operating again was buried on the depth chart to start the season, however he’s arrived in a serious approach since then, monitoring to guide the staff in dashing yardage, blocking successfully, catching the ball nicely, and basically splitting time with Cordarrelle Patterson. His future is extraordinarily vivid, and this backfield figures to be a staff power for years to return. -Dave Choate

File prediction: 6-11

Finest prediction: Finest case situation is seeing scheme enchancment

Worst prediction: The lack of Matt Ryan can be an enormous downside

I used to be very down on the Falcons to start out the season. In spite of everything, that was one of many worst offseasons since I grew to become a fan of the staff, perhaps rivaling 2007. The staff was compelled to expedite its rebuild, caught with no quarterback or any notable strikes in free company. You didn’t must be a rocket scientist to know 2022 wasn’t going to be stuffed with nice soccer.

A lot of the approach via the season, the Falcons sit at 5-8. Whereas Falcons might outperform my 6-11 prediction, this may find yourself being fairly shut.

For the great, I believed the teaching employees would carry the staff and that we must always, hopefully, see some enchancment because of gamers higher understanding the scheme. I’ll solely take partial credit score although as this protection continues to be a catastrophe. Dean Pees has, for essentially the most half, succeeded with a bend-don’t-break mentality. It nonetheless means the Falcons quit gobs and gobs of yards and explosive performs. I’ve determined he’s only a prickly Mike Smith.

I’ve to completely tip my hat to Arthur Smith for creating one of many league’s greatest and inventive run video games with parts like an undrafted rusher, an ever-changing bunch of nobodies at proper guard, a middle who can barely snap, and Kaleb McGary. Smith has manufactured the league’s second-highest dashing offense within the league. THIS is the type of enchancment I had been hoping for. Now, god prepared, we will see one thing related within the passing recreation with Desmond Ridder underneath middle.

For the unhealthy, I feel I used to be giving 2022 Matt Ryan a bit an excessive amount of credit score. The passing recreation would actually be a lot better with Ryan right here. But, with out Ryan, or perhaps a affordable semblance of a passing menace, the Falcons are proper about the place they have been in 2021. His loss wasn’t the deathblow I anticipated, placing the Falcons in competitors for the first total choose. That’s nothing towards Ryan. Age seems to have caught as much as him.

And regardless of Ryan nonetheless being a reliable passer, Smith was in a position to adapt the offense and get an analogous end result. Actually, the Falcons have improved quite a lot of vital staff stats: factors per recreation, yards per play, factors per drive, drives ending in factors are all up. That was sudden. —Matt Chambers

File prediction: 6-11

Finest prediction: Falcons would enhance statistically, however not within the win column

Worst prediction: The offensive line can be the largest downside on offense

We’ve nonetheless obtained 4 video games left within the 2022 NFL season, however for essentially the most half, I feel my report and total prediction for the Falcons season is just about spot on. I consider Atlanta will win at the very least yet one more recreation, probably two, and meet or exceed my win projection. However both approach, I feel the guts of my prediction has undoubtedly come to fruition: whereas this Falcons staff has been higher statistically than the 2021 model—on each offense and protection, by the way in which—they’re unlikely to surpass final yr’s 7-10 report.

I did suppose the “powerful schedule” would play into it extra, however truthfully, the schedule has softened up considerably as a consequence of opponent accidents and several other NFC South groups being far worse than anticipated. In actuality, the Falcons regressed again to the imply in shut video games after successful nearly all of them final season. That’s simply the way in which it goes, and it’s not filling me with concern for the longer term. The staff nonetheless wants important funding within the trenches, significantly on protection.

Talking of the trenches, I used to be satisfied Atlanta’s offensive line can be their greatest downside on offense. That has undoubtedly not been the case, as exterior of Drew Dalman, the road has persistently performed higher than anticipated. Chris Lindstrom appears to be like like the perfect guard in soccer, and Kaleb McGary is within the midst of a career-best season as each a move protector and run blocker. Even left guard, which has featured a revolving door of gamers as a consequence of harm, has been nice. I’ve obtained handy to offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford: he has completely coached this unit up into one thing respectable. Right here’s to hoping Desmond Ridder can present one thing, as that might go a good distance in serving to us all really feel higher in regards to the path of the staff in 2023. —Kevin Knight