The Atlanta Falcons come into the 2015 season with new head coach Dan Quinn, who was in charge of the Seattle Seahawks defense for both of their last two Super Bowl appearances. Defense is what Atlanta owner Arthur Blank hopes Quinn brings to the team. They have some weapons on offense, but their defense lacks a playmaker in the middle.
Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White can’t do it all for Atlanta. They learned that lesson the last two seasons. They lacked an efficient running back. Their porous offensive line didn’t help either. Atlanta drafted Indiana running back Tevin Coleman and hope he and Devonta Freeman can help keep the safeties in.
The Carolina Panters won the NFC South last year with a losing record. Can Atlanta bounce back and make the division respectable again?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Atlanta Falcons.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 6-10
Key Additions: LB Brooks Reed, DE Adrian Clayborn, TE Tony Moeaki, TE Jacob Tamme, LB Justin Durant, WR Leonard Hankerson, G Mike Person, CB Phillip Adams & LB O’Brien Shofield,
Key Losses: RB Steven Jackson, LB Sean Weatherspoon, WR Harry Douglas, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, DT Corey Peters, CB Robert McClain, S Dwight Lowery, CB Josh Wilson, TE Bear Pascoe, CB Javier Arenas, LT Sam Baker, LB Osi Umenyiora, LB Prince Shembo & S Brandon Bishop
2015 Draft Picks: LB Vic Beasley, CB Jalen Collins, RB Tevin Coleman, WR Justin Hardy, DT Grady Jarrett, OT Jake Rodgers & CB Akeem King
Non-Division Schedule: AFC South, NFC East & (San Francisco/Minnesota)
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Justin Hardy – Kyle Shanahan is Atlanta’s new offensive coordinator, so that means there will be quicker, shorter passes. Julio Jones and Roddy White will still get an occasional play-action bomb, but Shanahan’s past offenses love short passes. Hardy will see a decent number of targets, and Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should see plenty out of the backfield as well.
Offense – QB Matt Ryan, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Julio Jones, WR Roddy White, WR Justin Hardy, TE Jacob Tamme, LT Jake Matthews, LG Mike Person, C Joe Hawley, RG Jon Asamoah & RT Ryan Schraeder
Defense – DE Vic Beasley, DT Jonathan Babineaux, DT Paul Soliai, DE Adrian Clayborn, LOLB Justin Durant, MLB Paul Bradford, ROLB Brooks Reed, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Robert Alford, SS William Moore & RS Charles Godfrey
Team Analysis: Atlanta has been stuck in neutral the last two years. Their running game couldn’t ever get going and Atlanta’s offense was one-dimensional. They had trouble getting the ball to Jones and White due to them getting double-teamed by safeties. The offense wasn’t their only issue, their defense was just as bad. They missed Sean Weatherspoon in the middle (who was out with a torn ACL) and they couldn’t stop the pass. The addition of Brooks Reed is an upgrade from what they had last season. I don’t think this will be Atlanta’s year. They still seem to be another offseason away from being competitive in the horrid NFC South. Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense will be improved, but their defense lacks depth.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 7-9 (2nd in NFC South)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.