At least four new teams have made the playoffs in each of the past 33 seasons, and the Falcons will be one of them in 2023.
The club hasn’t hosted a playoff game since 2016 or even participated in the postseason since 2017. However, for several reasons, that drought is very likely to end this year. Adam Schein of NFL.com did a piece recently on that possibility, and you can add ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the list of Falcons believers:
.@minakimes' four potential new playoff teams in 2023:
At least four new teams have made the playoffs in each of the past 33 seasons 😳 pic.twitter.com/6mZO1Smu6G
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) June 29, 2023
Kimes illustrates the more prominent talking points in this narrative. The Falcons are efficient at running the ball, and the structure of the offense won’t put a lot of responsibility on Desmond Ridder‘s shoulders. Arthur Smith is a great play caller and should cover up some of his third-round pick’s shortcomings.
As she notes, as the NFL zigs toward pass heavy offenses, the Falcons zag with multiple tight end sets and running backs. Finally, Kimes addresses the biggest elephant in the room — the defense.
The offense was productive last year, even with Marcus Mariota holding the group back. There were only a few contests last year that the Falcons weren’t competitive in, and the defensive improvements alone should net more wins.
She identifies the biggest free agent additions, noting that each level of the defense received an influx of talent. Jessie Bates III will quarterback the group from the backend — the best safety on the market.
Calais Campbell and David Onyemata give Grady Jarrett the best supporting cast of his career, but the one wild card that Kimes (and myself) are high on is Kaden Elliss. A Swiss Army Knife type defender, the former Saint will be used all over Atlanta’s defense that Ryan Nielsen will coordinate.
There isn’t a club that made more additions on the defensive side of the ball than the Falcons. The postseason is in the Dirty Birds’ crosshairs.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire