Adding Lamar Jackson in the offseason ultimately proved out of reach, which means the Atlanta Falcons will enter 2023 with second-year man Desmond Ridder as the starting quarterback. He’ll have no shortage of assistance around him, with the Falcons returning a promising wide receiver and having added a dynamic talent in the backfield. They’ll need the defense to take a significant leap forward, but if all those goals come to fruition the Falcons could finally turn a corner in 2023.
Falcons Super Bowl odds: +6000
The Falcons have some intriguing playmakers on offense with Drake London and Bijan Robinson, but reaching their fullest potential will rely on Desmond Ridder taking a leap forward as the newly crowned starter. Atlanta finished second in rushing attempts per game (32.9), but the team will need to shift its strategy and allow Ridder to make more plays with his arm this season. After the Falcons finished 15th in scoring last year, making a leap into the top 10 would deem them as serious contenders.
Atlanta finished 23rd in defensive scoring last season, but you can’t become a decent defense without having a sufficient pass rush. The Falcons had just 21 sacks last season, which was good for 31st in the NFL, and will need newly added defensive linemen David Onyemata and Calais Campbell to turn back the clock and generate some pressure on the end.
Falcons NFC South division title odds: +200
Atlanta holds the second-best odds to win the NFC South, behind the New Orleans Saints (+105) and ahead of the Carolina Panthers (+500) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1000). Though the Falcons boast some intriguing pieces on offense, with some hopeful optimism on defense, the Saints should be viewed as the clear-cut front-runner for the division crown. Derek Carr is the most experienced signal-caller in the division and their ninth-ranked defense should hold its own against one of the weaker divisions in the NFL.
Falcons win total odds: Over 8.5 (-130); Under 8.5 (+105)
The Falcons are coming off back-to-back seven-win seasons despite subpar play at quarterback, and enter the 2023 season with the second-easiest slate according to SOS. Aside from the Saints, it's feasible to envision Atlanta besting the likes of the Panthers and Buccaneers for two wins each. So long as they can hold their own at home, and key playmakers like Robinson and London help make Ridder’s job easier in his first run as a starter, improving their win total by at least one seems like an achievable goal.