The Falcons haven’t had a record over .500 in five years, since the club’s last trip to the postseason following the 2017 season.
In fact, the Falcons broke a dubious NFL record in 2022. Since 2018, they’ve had 13 consecutive losses when entering a contest with a .500 record, surpassing the 2006-2012 Rams for the longest streak since the NFL merger.
They tied the mark with a loss to the Bengals last year then followed it up with a win over the Panthers and a loss to the Chargers in heartbreaking fashion when Ta’Quon Graham fumbled without anyone touching him.
If not in Week 1 against a rookie quarterback with a new regime, then when will the Falcons ever eclipse a .500 record? I get that’s a bit hyperbolic, but it’s getting mind-numbingly hard to root for this team.
The Panthers feature a new head coach in Frank Reich with a first-year signal caller in Bryce Young with a porous offensive line and less than stellar offensive weapons. Moreover, their best pass rusher, Brian Burns, is in a contract dispute and hasn’t practiced in consecutive days.
On the other hand, the Falcons invested heavily in their roster this offseason. The defense was completely overhauled, adding free agent playmakers to all three levels, most notably the defensive front with David Onyemata, Calais Campbell, and Bud Dupree. Jessie Bates III and Kaden Elliss round out the star-studded free-agent class on the second and third levels.
Offensively, the club returns four of five starters along the front, adding Matthew Bergeron, a second-round pick, to the mix at left guard. However, the star of the offseason has been Bijan Robinson, who I have already dubbed the face of the franchise and joins a loaded skill group, featuring Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Jonnu Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Tyler Allgeier.
In front of a home crowd that is surely anticipating a playoff berth this season, the Falcons have no reason not to start the season 1-0, ending one of the most embarrassing streaks in professional sports.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire