The Atlanta Falcons enjoyed a 10-6 season in 2011 good enough for second place in the NFC South. However, after a successful regular season they were defeated by the New York Giants in the first week of the playoffs in an ugly loss 24-2. The team has a number of talented players but has not put up the numbers in the won loss column they should have.
This season there is not any true favorite in the NFC South. No team in the division has won back to back regular season title and often times a surprise teams rises out of nowhere to win the division.
Offensively the Falcons averaged 25 points a game and with 337 yards in 2011. The team ranked 10th overall in the league in offense. They averaged 262 yards through the air and 115 on the ground per game.
Quarterback Matt Ryan is the catalyst and had his best pro season last year completing over 61% of his passes for over 4,170 years and 29 TDs. His last four starts were his best – a completion rate of 65%, 10 TDs, no interceptions and 1,023 total passing yards. Veteran running back Michael Turner ran for 1,340 yards averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Last season the defense gave up 334 yards and 22 points per game. The front four down lineman are getting old and that can be a problem late in games and late in the season. The linebackers are suspect, but should hold up as long as star Sean Weatherspoon is not injured. The secondary has added Asante Samuel from Philadelphia and that should help tremendously.
Atlanta’s offense is one of the better in the division and should help them finish first or second. A surprise in the division may be Carolina. Currently odds makers have the Falcons at -155 to win OVER 9 games, but is +125 to win the NFC South, +1200 to win the NFC Championship and +2500 to take home the Super Bowl trophy.
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