The Atlanta Falcons 2022 campaign has been tumultuous, with impressive wins followed by embarrassing losses like beating the 49ers and falling to the Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Still, for the most part, the team has outpaced preseason expectations. Some outlets went as far as to say the Falcons would finish the season with the league’s worst record and own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft cycle.
With one of the worst rosters in football, Arthur Smith has nobly led Atlanta to a 5-6 record through Week 11, the latest win coming against the lowly Bears. It officially cashes the team’s preseason 4.5 game win total, and the Falcons have a chance to even get into the postseason. But as it stands right now, the rebuild in Atlanta is ahead of schedule.
Entering the season, the Falcons were trying to build a roster with more dead money than any other team, especially after trading Deion Jones. Matt Ryan had a record-breaking dead cap hit, which only compounded the problem with Julio Jones and Dante Fowler still on the books.
Amid a rebuild, many people felt the Falcons would roll over in a lot of their matchups, but they have proven to be a formidable opponent regardless of how outmatched the team is on paper. It’s a testament to Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot, and the culture they’ve instilled in this era of Falcons football. Atlanta is a feisty bunch and doesn’t know they shouldn’t be flirting with playoff contention, but they are.
With the team’s most recent win over the Bears, they’ve officially eclipsed that preseason betting win total of 4.5, which I said was an absolute lock in July. With games against the Commanders, Steelers, and Saints, there’s no reason the Dirty Birds can’t squeak out a few more wins and make some noise in the NFC Wild Card race.