The Falcons have improved significantly this offseason. Armed with another top 10 pick and a mountain of salary cap space, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have transformed the roster.
The offense returns key starters at every position while adding Bijan Robinson, Jonnu Smith, Scotty Miller, and Matthew Bergeron to round out the starting positions. The defense, on the other hand, underwent a total overhaul.
Jessie Bates III, Mike Hughes, Jeff Okudah, and Clark Phillips III bolster a secondary that already had one All-Pro in AJ Terrell, while the defensive front saw the most noticeable changes — David Onyemata, Calais Campbell, Eddie Goldman, Bud Dupree, and Lorenzo Carter joining Grady Jarrett, Ta’Quon Graham, Arnold Ebeketie, and DeAngelo Malone.
Given the amount of resources invested in the roster, it’s not crazy to somewhat expect the Falcons to take the NFC South, especially considering how down the division is right now. Vegas doesn’t see it that way, though. Here are their 2023 NFC South winner betting odds:
- Saints +125
- Falcons +300
- Panthers +330
- Buccaneers +700
The Saints aren’t an inspiring team, and there’s a legitimate argument to be had that the Falcons have several superior position groups. New Orleans, still battling the salary cap, didn’t make as many blockbuster signings, but Mickey Loomis is among the best in the business at building a competitive roster and filled the biggest hole on the roster by signing Derek Carr, who is undoubtedly the best quarterback in the division.
Their draft wasn’t exactly inspiring. Bryan Bresee is a good player but not a game changer, and I think the same could be said for Isaiah Foskey; however, both will be relied upon heavily in 2023. They’re favorites to win the division for a reason. The defense is still talented, and Carr stabilizes what has been an ineffective offense since Drew Brees and Sean Payton left the Big Easy.
The Panthers are a sneaky team that could come out after landing the best quarterback in the draft — Bryce Young. I don’t expect him to be an MVP candidate right away, but I think he’s a sure-fire, can’t-miss franchise quarterback. Jonathan Mingo is another worthwhile addition, giving Young a solid supporting cast.
The offensive line isn’t great, but the defense is an ascending group led by Derrick Brown, Brian Burns, and Jaycee Horn — all of whom are Pro Bowl talents. The Panthers are undergoing a regime change, so it’s fair to wonder just how quickly they can mesh the staff, roster, and scheme. 2023 is probably more about building the foundation, not expecting a playoff berth.
The Buccaneers are in total rebuild mode. They landed a number of awesome prospects from the draft in Calijah Kancey and Cody Mauch, but the Bucs are likely rolling with Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask at quarterback. No team is a serious contender with either of those signal callers.
In my opinion, it’s a two-horse race between the Falcons and Saints. I don’t think Atlanta’s roster is getting enough credit, and I will always bet against Dennis Allen. Arthur Smith has improved each season at the helm, displaying impressive play design with completely different quarterbacks stylistically — Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota.
Because I am a completely unbiased opinion, you can trust me when I say get the Falcons at the best odds you possibly can; the Dirty Birds are returning to the postseason and hosting a playoff game.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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