After mortgaging their entire 2011 draft to acquire Julio Jones, Atlanta went 10-6. They lost to the eventual Super Bowl winner, New York Giants, and looked bad doing it. You never want a ‘2’ next to your name, unless the final score is 2-0.
In 2011, Atlanta won the games they were supposed to win and lost the games they were supposed to lose. They were a bit vanilla and didn’t have too many memorable moments that I can recall.
Can Michael Turner rebound from a horrible second-half in 2011? Does a new offensive coordinator translate into better passing numbers for Matt Ryan?
Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Atlanta Falcons.
Key Additions: CB Asante Samuel, LB Mike Peterson, C Peter Konz, OT Lamar Holmes, Bradie Ewing and Jonathan Massaquoi.
Key Losses: CB Kelvin Hayden, WR Eric Weems, S James Sanders and LB Curtis Lofton.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Harry Douglas – I did think Jason Snelling would be the best fantasy sleeper on the Falcons, but Harry Douglas is a better deep sleeper. The new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is rumored to be implementing a pass-happy offense. Matt Ryan looks good early in camp and is said to already have a good feel for the new offense. Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez can’t catch all the balls and if Douglas can stay healthy, he’ll get some targets.
Team Analysis: Ryan will be better under the new offensive coordinator. They won’t have to rely on Michael Turner as much, which is a bonus for the team. His heavy workload seems to be taking a toll on him and Snelling could find more carries by the end of the season. Asante Samuel will help them a lot in the secondary. They were 20th in opposing passing yards and facing the NFC South is difficult a difficult task. They catch a break in the scheduling by playing four games against the AFC West, but then face the upgraded NFC East. They will have a better season in 2012, especially since Ryan will have a full training camp with Jones and the rest of his wide receivers.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 (Prediction: OVER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5