NFL Schedule

2021 Atlanta Falcons Preview



Head Coach: Arthur Smith

2020

2020 Record: 4-12

Is it odd to say that a 4-12 season wasn’t as bad as it looked? In the case of the 2020 Falcons, nope. of their 12 losses, 8 were by a score or less. A few breaks, maybe a D that didn’t suck, and the Falcons could have been a playoff team.

2021

2021 Draft Picks

1-4 TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

2-40 DB Richie Grant, UCF

3-68 G Jalen Mayfield, Michigan

4-108 DB Darren Hall, San Diego State

4-114 C Drew Dalman, Stanford

5-148 DE Ta’Quon Graham, Texas

5-182  LB Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame

5-183  DB Avery Williams, Boise State

6-187 WR Frank Darby, Arizona State

The Falcons rocked the 2021 draft. Kyle Pitts should impact what was already a high flying offense immediately; their biggest weakness was red zone scoring and he might be one of the top ten TEs in the NFL before playing single snap. There are a ton of winners in the defensive backfield, and depth on the OL was needed. One pic that went under the radar was Avery Williams, who has the makings of a great return man.

Key Pick Ups

Mike Davis – RB (from Panthers)

Cordarrelle Patterson – RB/WR (from Bears)

Davis should step in as the starting back, and Patterson immediately improves the return game and gives Ryan yet another weapon.

Key Losses

Julio Jones – WR (to Titans)

Keanu Neal – LB (to Cowboys)

Todd Gurley – RB (FA)

Brian Hill – RB (to Titans)

Obviously losing a HOF receiver hurts, but the reality is the Falcons learned how to function just fine without him in 2020. Neal’s departure doesn’t bode well for an already bad D. Gurley is washed up and Hill was really a minor backup.

Offense

Offensive Coordinator: Dave Ragone

2020 Points Scored: 396 (16th)

Tom Brady gets a lot of attention for succeeding as an old man, but Matt Ryan is right up there with him. Don’t expect his numbers to drop in 2021. They’ll need Mike Davis to put up in the neighborhood of 1,500 yards from scrimmage to be successful, but based on what he did filling in for CMC last year that’s a reasonable ask. Pitts is a Brian Hill – RB (to Titans) nightmare, one a vet like Ryan should have a field day with.

Defense

Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees

2020 Points Allowed: 414 (19th)

Here’s where things get ugly for the Falcons. The D was bad last year; most folks list the D line as the worst in the league. They added some young talent in the draft, but nothing that will likely affect 2021 much. In short… other than general optimism, there isn’t much reason to think things will get better there.

Special Teams

K Younghoe Koo and P Sterling Hofrichter are a solid 1-2 punch in the kicking game, and as mentioned above, the return game should be solid. The coverage unit was below average last year.

If Things Go Well

The offense doesn’t miss a beat, but it has a hard time scoring enough points to keep up with what the D allows.

If They Don’t

The O line doesn’t improve, and lack of a star RB makes the Falcons rushing attack ineffective. The passing game still puts up numbers, but a bad D is too much to overcome without a balanced O.

Prediction

It’s hard to buy into Mike Davis as a featured back, and there isn’t much of anything behind him. Without a D, you may see the Falcons go into full rebuild mode for 2022.

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Date Opponent
Sunday
Sep. 12
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday
Sep. 19
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday
Sep. 26
at New York Giants
Sunday
Oct. 3
Washington Football Team
Sunday
Oct. 10
New York Jets
Sunday
Oct. 17
BYE
Sunday
Oct. 24
at Miami Dolphins
Sunday
Oct. 31
Carolina Panthers
Sunday
Nov. 7
at New Orleans Saints
Sunday
Nov. 14
at Dallas Cowboys
Thursday
Nov. 18
New England Patriots
Sunday
Nov. 28
at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday
Dec. 5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday
Dec. 12
at Carolina Panthers
Sunday
Dec. 19
at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday
Dec. 26
Detroit Lions
Sunday
Jan. 2
at Buffalo Bills
Sunday
Jan. 9
New Orleans Saints

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