Nobody believes in the Falcons with Kirk Cousins; are they right?

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The Falcons made the biggest move of the offseason by signing Kirk Cousins to a massive $180 million deal.

It vaulted them atop Vegas’ NFC South winner odds. Atlanta is now a heavy favorite to win the division, which would be the first time since 2016. Kirk Cousins might not be a Hall of Famer and is coming off an Achilles injury, but he might as well be Tom Brady considering what Desmond Ridder gave the team last year.

However, just getting to the postseason isn’t good enough for Raheem Morris now. The Falcons’ new head coach acknowledged that winning the division was an expectation. Now, with a win-now quarterback like Kirk Cousins, success in the playoffs is the new bar. However, not many believe the Falcons are ready to be contenders just yet.

Dan Graziano described Atlanta being contenders as an overreaction in a piece for ESPN. Bleacher Report echoed similar sentiments, and so did former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew. We can add one more media outlet/pundit to that list too. CBS Sports doesn’t believe the Falcons are contenders with Kirk Cousins.

The Falcons are certainly a better team with Cousins at quarterback, the missing piece Atlanta needed to win the NFC South the last few seasons. Atlanta had a contending team in the division last year, but quarterback performance between Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke kept them from winning the division.

With Cousins at quarterback, the Falcons are certainly division title contenders in a weak NFC South. Atlanta also added Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore to an offense that already has Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, and Drake London at the skill positions. The Falcons also have one of the best run blocking offensive lines in football.

Are they a Super Bowl contender with this group? There are still teams in the NFC that are more playoff tested and better than Atlanta. Cousins also have to prove he can make a deep playoff run of his own too. The Falcons are a playoff team in 2024, but the rest is to be determined.

I think the common theme with a lot of these pessimistic viewpoints surrounding the Falcons and Kirk Cousins is the veteran’s postseason failures and the team’s lack of success in recent years.

Well, let’s dissect that. Cousins does own a 1-4 playoff record, but in the first appearance, he only threw ten times, completing three passes for 31 yards. In the other four contests, he averaged 254 yards and 69% passing with five total touchdowns and one interception, good for a 96.3 passer rating.

That’s a far cry from a bad postseason career. Moreover, much of the Falcons’ failures in 2023 fall at the feet of their quarterbacks. I get it; the Falcons and Cousins have to prove it before anyone believes it.

But let’s not pretend Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are the pinnacle of postseason success. Dallas is 2-5 with Prescott under center in playoff games, and the Cowboys quarterback averages below 65% passing and a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio.

In that same breath, Jared Goff and the Lions just returned to the playoffs with neither side experiencing much success in that area. Jordan Love and the Packers could be considered in the same vein.

Again, I understand the Falcons with Kirk Cousins aren’t the Super Bowl favorites, but they’re in the conversation of a top 5 team in their conference right now, at least as far as odds are concerned, and anything can happen when you get to the playoffs.

Photographer: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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