The Atlanta Falcons were built to win it all last season, and after finally winning a playoff game in the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era, they shed their “soft” label and nearly pulled it off. The Falcons couldn’t quite get it done despite holding home-field advantage, however, and missed out on a Super Bowl bid by about 10 yards.
Luckily, the Falcons have a chance to pickup right where they left off in 2013, and this time they might be able to close the deal. Not only is star tight end Tony Gonzalez returning for one last crack at going out on top, but the Falcons also upgraded the running back position with former St. Louis Rams back Steven Jackson signing on via free agency.
With the rest of their potent offense in place, the Falcons should once again soar to the elite’s elite, and should at least be able to get back into the playoffs to try to make some more noise. And once in, no one will be wanting to bet against them and their 14/1 odds to win it all.
Before they can go quite that far, however, they’ll need their defense to live up to their end of the bargain. Atlanta said good-bye to cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes this off-season, which could see their pass defense take a bit of a hit. In addition, they lost pass-rushing specialist Jonathan Abraham, as well.
Atlanta still has one of the best offenses in the entire league and has a taste of post-season success, so they’re headed in the right direction, and really have been for a few years. Holding onto Gonzalez for one more season helps them remain consistent through the air, while the addition of Steven Jackson makes them stronger and more versatile on the ground than they’ve been in years.
However, if they’re going to take that final step, their defense will likely have to over-achieve come post-season time.