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Opinion

Atlanta Falcons 2022-23 season preview: Life after Matt Ryan

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
22nd June, 2022
2

The Falcons have embarked on a new journey after trading franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, so how will they fare in the 2022-23 season?

Strengths
Unfortunately for Falcons fans, the list isn’t massive for what they do well. What they do have on their side is supreme size at the pass-catching positions.

Mix the 6’6 frame of second-year tight end Kyle Pitts with the 6’5 frame of rookie wide receiver Drake London and you have seriously good size to target.

Weaknesses
The Falcons’ defence as a unit is a weak spot, lacking depth and star power. They were near the bottom of the league in nearly every defensive metric against the run, ranking 30th for yards allowed, 27th for yards allowed and 26 for rushing touchdowns allowed. They also ranked 29th for total points allowed last season.

When you mix these stats with the fact that they lost Foyesade Oluokun to the Jaguars in free agency and have essentially announced Deion Jones leaving the team is imminent, things aren’t guaranteed to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

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ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) rolls out to pass during an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons on December 3, 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. The Minnesota Vikings won the game 14-9.

Matt Ryan (Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)

Player to watch
Despite the struggles the Falcons had on defence last season, they do have a shining star on that side of the ball. AJ Terrell is coming into his third season and last season announced himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Watch for Terrell to shadow the best receiver on the other team every game and do the job.

Player under pressure
Matt Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, meaning the Falcons will start a new QB for the first time since 2008, putting the pressure on Marcus Mariota, who the Falcons brought in during free agency to be the starter.

Add the Falconsdrafting Desmond Ridder from Cincinnati and Mariota needs to perform straight away if he wants to stay with the team. 

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Predictions
I expect this to be a season of struggle for the Falcons with a tough schedule and a talent-deprived roster. Expect Desmond Ridder to be the starter of this team by season’s end and for the Falcons to be picking in the top five of the 2023 NFL draft.

Win-loss projection: 3-14

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