Why the Falcons are bound to improve in 2023 under Arthur Smith

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The Falcons are seemingly being counted out of the NFC South for some reason. Everyone and their mothers is picking the Saints to take the division and host a playoff game; some going as far as to suggest Atlanta could finish third, behind the Carolina Panthers.

For several reasons, I think the Falcons will end up hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2016. Beginning with New Orleans, who are still led by incompetent coaches. The Dirty Birds’ rivals also have inferior talent at the most important positions, outside of quarterback — the trenches.

Thanks to aging and expensive stars, the Saints have had to part ways with several key figures across the offensive and defensive lines. The only position group that is¬†clearly¬†ahead of the Falcons is the Saints’ signal caller. Nobody is arguing that Desmond Ridder is better than Derek Carr; in fact, it’s not even close.

However, Pete Carmichael is an inept offensive coordinator and will hold the group back. Dennis Allen might be a capable defensive mind, though I believe most of his success as a defensive coordinator came because the talent was outrageous, but he’s a terrible head coach. Whereas the Falcons play a brand of football that makes life easy for signal callers.

The biggest difference is the overwhelming free agent additions. Atlanta added a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball and already featured one of the most productive offenses in football last year. The numbers back it up too.

Arthur Smith finished 7-10 despite Atlanta eating $84 million in dead money, which is about 42% of the $208 million league salary cap. Moreover, the offense cost $64 million, which was the third cheapest in the league, and the defense cost $48 million, which ranked 32nd last year. Despite those handicaps, the Falcons were competitive in virtually every single contest last year.

Want someone with a bit more credibility to tell you?

The facts are that Arthur Smith somehow scraped together seven wins, despite all of the roster’s deficiencies. Now, he’s got an actual defense and a loaded offense; improvement is inevitable. I believe it will culminate in a playoff game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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