ESPN’s updated prediction won’t surprise Falcons fans

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons offense has spun its wheels through four games, but there have been bright moments for the club, mostly coming on the other side of the ball.

Under Ryan Nielsen and after a considerable investment in free agency, the defense has become one of the best in football. It’s among the top 10 in scoring, third-down conversion rate, and pressure rate.

Jessie Bates and David Onyemata have proven to be the most valuable additions, but Calais Campbell and Kaden Elliss have heavily contributed to the defensive turnaround as well.

About the only bright spot on the offense has come in the form of a rookie — Bijan Robinson. He’s come as advertised and probably already delivered more than promised. It’s why ESPN’s Seth Walder is switching his prediction for the Falcons from A.J. Terrell having an All-Pro campaign to Robinson leading the league in rushing.

Original prediction: CB A.J. Terrell regains his 2021 form and is named either first- or second-team All-Pro.

Why I’m switching: Terrell has been fine, but he isn’t on track to finish as an All-Pro. And another Falcon has caught my eye, so I’m switching to: RB Bijan Robinson will lead the league in rushing yards.

Yes, I’m sold. And with Browns star Nick Chubb out of the picture, this race is wide open. Robinson ranks second among running backs in rush yards over expectation (plus-121), so the opportunity should be there. The Falcons are the most run-heavy team in the league when win probability is between 15% and 85%.

This isn’t as bold of a prediction as it would’ve been at the beginning of the season, which SportsTalkATL did, but I welcome anyone and everyone on the Bijan Bandwagon.

Robinson added 105 yards to his total in London, which marked the second game of the season he eclipsed triple digits. What’s most impressive is he did so on just 14 carries, thanks to a 38-yard carry. He’s not just a threat on the ground, though.

The Falcons’ 8th overall pick accounts for 452 yards from scrimmage, which is nearly 36% of Atlanta’s total offense. Robinson leads the team in rushes and receptions. Robinson’s 72 total touches are more than the next two combined — Tyler Allgeier (51) and Jonnu Smith (15).

He’s on pace to break numerous franchise and league records for a rookie running back. There’s no arguing the face of the Falcons — Bijan Robinson.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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