Falcons at bottom of the totem pole in market-implied odds and ESPN’s power rankings

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By most metrics, the Falcons are a bottom-of-the-barrel team. Despite winning seven games a year ago, Atlanta certainly outperformed the talent on the roster, and Arthur Smith deserves credit for that. Even though the team has bolstered some of the weakest units during the offseason so far, downgrading from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder is significant and will have profound effects.

Oddsmakers have the Falcons’ win total at 5.5, and using game-by-game betting lines, Atlanta is supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league — on par with the Texans. Advanced analytics aren’t too fond of the Falcons either. ESPN’s predictive ratings suggest the Falcons will be a bottom-three team in 2022. The Bears, Jets, and Texans are not teams you want to be associated with, yet the Falcons are right there with them. If these predictive ratings are even remotely accurate, Atlanta will once again be selecting in the top ten of the 2023 NFL draft. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, though.

The Falcons got worse at the most important position in the sport — quarterback. The offensive line, one of the worst units in the league in pass protection, has yet to be upgraded. And while the pass rush was addressed, it could be a couple of seasons before we see the picks of Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone begin to pay off. The reality is the Falcons have a terrible roster, so four to six wins is likely where they are headed.

It feels like I’m beating a dead horse, but I have a few more opinions that are just more of the same. In the latest ESPN power rankings, the Falcons landed at No. 31, ahead of only the Carolina Panthers. Here’s what Mike Rothstein had to add:

Jarrett, the Falcons’ top front-seven defender, had little to no help last season. He saw double-teams regularly and sometimes even triple-teams. Atlanta’s approach to the draft — taking Day 2 rushers Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone — should help the pass rush. And, in turn, it should help Jarrett not face quite as much attention. Plus, Jarrett signed a $51 million, three-year extension days after the draft and celebrated a birthday, so that was a good week for him. — Michael Rothstein

Obviously, power rankings aren’t nearly as important in the NFL as they are in college, especially four months away from the start of the season. However, the Vegas oddsmakers are the best in the business at predicting a team’s outlook, and we know they’re not fond of this Falcons team. Benjamin Brown of PFF combined SuperBook and DraftKings spreads for the entire season, and Atlanta’s market-implied odds have them at the very bottom of the NFC.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

 

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