The 2022 NFL schedule has been out for several weeks, sparking everyone and their mothers to put out a prediction. And now, it’s SportsTalkATL’s turn. I wanted first to reference Vegas having the Falcons’ win total set at 4.5 wins. However, those in the media are slightly higher on Atlanta. Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com has the Falcons at 5.5 wins; here’s what she had to say:
My models put the Falcons ahead of the Panthers by season’s end due to higher projected QB production. Three of the Falcons’ four hardest non-divisional opponents are on the road but well-spaced out (Rams, Week 2; Bengals, Week 7; Ravens, Week 16), with their home tilt against the Chargers in Week 9 sandwiched between games against Carolina.
Here are my predictions:
Week 1 vs. Saints
The Falcons will come out hot out of the gate, unlike last year when the Eagles steamrolled them. However, with Marcus Mariota starting his first game in quite a while, Atlanta loses a close one at the hands of Mariota’s classmate Jameis Winston.
Week 2 @ Rams
I don’t want to get redundant with some of these, but the Rams are just a better football team like many of the Falcons matchups — offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. I fear this one won’t be close.
Week 3 @ Seahawks
Losing Russell Wilson is going to send the Seahawks into a tailspin. This should be a close game, but the Falcons pull one out on the road.
Week 4 vs. Browns
Despite the Browns’ loaded roster, it will be a longshot that Deshaun Watson‘s suspension is up by Week 4, especially with rumors that he could be out the entire season. Still, Cleveland is a legit Super Bowl contender with Watson. Their run game is one of the best in the league, and that’ll be the difference in this one.
Week 5 @ Buccaneers
Don’t even think about it. Tom Brady hasn’t lost to the Falcons, and it’s not going to start now.
Week 6 vs. 49ers
Week 7 @ Bengals
There is the potential for a Super Bowl hangover, especially for a young team like the Bengals, but Joe Burrow is different. Add in the fact the offensive line was upgraded, and you’ve got another rough start for the Falcons.
Week 8 vs. Panthers
The Falcons’ wins are going to be few and far between. This one has all the makings of a midseason toilet bowl, but I see Matt Rhule losing his job at some point during the season. Falcons win.
Week 9 vs. Chargers
The Falcons will upset a team or two; it is just difficult to predict which ones. I believe it’ll be the Chargers, who are also notorious for blowing leads and playing down to their competition. Coming off a divisional win, Atlanta takes the momentum and upsets Los Angeles.
Week 10 @ Panthers
The Falcons’ only primetime game comes on a Thursday night. A short week, coming off an emotional win over a playoff-caliber team will always result in a loss for a team like Atlanta.
Week 11 vs. Bears
If the Falcons lose to the Bears, they might as well quit. Jokes aside, Chicago is a horribly run team and just took the first steps toward a rebuild. Justin Fields will be throwing to a bunch of grocery baggers, and the Falcons will pull out a win at home and end their two-game slide.
Week 12 @ Commanders
Despite Carson Wentz being a problematic quarterback to win games with, the Commanders are built similarly to the Colts last season — defense and running the ball. Both do not bode well for the Falcons.
Week 13 vs. Steelers
By this time in the year, Pittsburgh will be battling for one of the AFC Wild Card spots, but the Falcons won’t be able to play spoiler since they can’t move the ball past midfield outside of the first possession.
Week 14 – BYE
Week 15 @ Saints
The Falcons generally always give the Saints a tough time, and with New Orleans playing for the postseason, Atlanta has the extra motivation to avoid a sweep from their biggest rivals.
Week 16 @ Ravens
I am terrified to see what Lamar Jackson does to this Falcons defense. It could be a long one. BUT it might be snowing in Baltimore this time of the year, so that’s a decent consolation prize.
Week 17 vs. Cardinals
New year, same ole Falcons. Despite playing on New Year’s Day, the Falcons can’t play spoiler.
Week 18 vs. Buccaneers
Unless Tampa rests every single starter, the Falcons will have no chance. They’ll give the Bucs a good fight because Arthur Smith demands effort regardless of the circumstance, but Tom Brady sweeps Atlanta again, maintaining his pristine record against the Falcons.
Final Record: 5-12
What do you think the Falcons’ final record will be?
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire