While many are predicting a backwards step for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 after their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, Pro Football Focus has them finishing first in the NFC with a 12-4 record in their recently-released NFC team projections.
Atlanta didn’t do anything major this offseason, yet the strength of the team is an extremely talented starting lineup, says Nathan Jahnke.
The Falcons are coming off of Super Bowl disappointment, and despite losing Kyle Shanahan they are still in good position to make another playoff run. For the most part, their starting lineup will look the same as it did in the Super Bowl, and if anything it could be better. Desmond Trufant is one of the better cornerbacks in the game and he will be returning from his pectoral injury. Since joining the league in 2013 he’s allowed 0.98 yards per coverage snap, which is fifth-best for corners with 2000 or more snaps.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see the Falcons ranked so high with a roster that’s loaded with young talent on both sides of the ball. The offense didn’t suffer any significant losses outside of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving for the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job.
In addition to getting Desmond Trufant back on defense, they return several young defensive play-makers, including Vic Beasley, Deion Jones and Keanu Neal. Throw in Dontari Poe and boisterous rookie first-round pick Takkarist Mckinley and you can see why this team is getting a lot of national hype despite a relatively quiet offseason.
Of course, it all comes back to the steady hand of the league’s reigning MVP quarterback
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