2013 Record: 4-12
The Falcons may have been the least respected 8-0 team of all-time. For whatever reason, the Falcons were 8-0 and hardly anyone was talking about them, and Falcons players started commenting about that to the media. They’ve got a great defense and offense, likeable stars, and a big fan base. So why no national respect? It’s hard to say. But they will be fun to watch again in 2013. Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez was going to retire but decided to return after all, hungry for his first Super Bowl after losing just one win away from it last season. Atlanta replaced aging running back Michael Turner with another aging running back, Steven Jackson. Jackson showed more left in the tank with the Rams than Turner did with the Falcons last year. Matt Ryan (4,719 yards, 32 touchdowns) is a dynamic offensive leader. And he loves his two wideouts Julio Jones (79 receptions, 1,198 yards) and Roddy White (92 receptions, 1,351 yards). Age is a concern with these Falcons. You already know Steven Jackson is old (30), but then there’s Gonzalez at 37, White at 32, fullback Jason Snelling at 30. The Falcons can put up points when they need to and then some, but it would help to have a younger, more explosive running back.
Defensively, the Falcons were actually pretty mediocre against both the pass and the rush. They had the fifth-fewest sacks in the league but forced 35 turnovers. To fix that problem with the pass rush, Atlanta signed Osi Umenyiora, fresh off a six-sack season with the Giants. He joins Falcon mainstays Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Babineaux on the D-line. The Falcons’ weakness would have to be at linebacker, a key position against both the rush and the pass. Inexperienced Akeem Dent is charged with reading offenses at middle linebacker this year, flanked by Sean Witherspoon and Stephen Nicholas. Aging Asante Samuel starts in a strong secondary across from 2013 first-round pick Desmond Trufant. Those two, and safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud, are above-average. But the Falcons need more pressure on the opposing quarterback to force bad throws and such. Umenyiora will help but it also comes down to the coaching staff, especially after they lost starters John Abraham, Chris Owens, and Vance Walker on defense. But don’t forget this team was 13-3 and a win from the Super Bowl last year and could get to that point again this year. Get the best value on Falcons tickets from Gold Coast Tickets!