The Falcons’ first preseason game is a week away, and the excitement around the new regime is palpable. Atlanta is experiencing brand new offensive and defensive systems, a bevy of new faces on both sides of the ball, and fans will be back at NFL stadiums for the first time since the season before last. So here are few bold predictions that I believe COULD happen; these are somewhat reasonable goals for the Falcons to reach.
Grady Jarrett records double-digit sacks
Jarrett has never recorded more than seven sacks in a season, but it could all change now that he is in a Dean Pees defense. In two seasons with Pees in Tennessee, Jurrell Casey recorded 12 total sacks — a notable worse pass rusher than Jarrett. The former Clemson Tiger is among the leaders of this team, and he’ll likely command double teams on nearly every play, which is why this can be considered a bold prediction.
Calvin Ridley sets career-highs in every major receiving statistic
Ridley is entering his fourth year in the league and is coming off his best season yet, one in which he was named to the All-Pro team after recording 90 receptions for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. Ridley finished the year tied with Davante Adams, who was named first-team All-Pro, for the fifth-most receiving yards in the league, and he ranked 10th in touchdown catches. His 2020 numbers were all career highs outside of touchdowns, which he hauled in 10 his rookie year.
Falcons total and scoring offense rank ahead of the Titans
The Titans ranked third in the league in total offense per game last season under the guidance of Arthur Smith, while the Falcons ranked 18th in the same category. Last year, Tennessee ranked fourth in the league in points per game under Smith, while Atlanta ranked 16th in the same category under Dirk Koetter. The discrepancies in the offensive output are clear, so my bold prediction is Matt Ryan and the Falcons will outrank Ryan Tannehill and the Titans in both total and scoring offense.
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