Atlanta Falcons 2009 NFL Projection:
Last season the Falcons shocked the league as an unheralded offensive line, rookie
QB Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White,
John Abraham, and coach Mike Smith led Atlanta to an (11-5) mark and a trip to the playoffs.
Looking back at least season, five of Atlanta’s eleven wins came against teams
that were essentially inept or floundering at game time.
That’s not to take away what Atlanta did. They still had plenty of nice wins
including; a thriller over the Bears, home wins over New Orleans
and Carolina, and wins @San Diego and @Minnesota… But last season’s performance might
be difficult to repeat.
In 2009 the Falcons have added TE Tony Gonzalez. His presence completes
the Falcs’ offense in the skill position department. Atlanta projects as a team that can score
from all positions.
But I think most would agree that on paper, Atlanta’s defense looks to be a unit
that may give scores back to the opposition rather quickly
There’s no question that John Abraham is a game changer at defensive end.
He contributed 16.5 sacks last season, yet Atlanta’s defense finished 24th
in the league.
In an effort to shore up their rushing defense, Atlanta spent first round pick on
Mississippi DT Peria Jerry.
He could help transform Atlanta’s line into a much better unit in 2009.
However, the Falcons parted ways with DT Grady Jackson. So there’s no real gain in depth.
At linebacker Keith Brooking and Michael Boley are no longer Falcons.
LB Mike Peterson from Jacksonville was added. He joins middle linebacker Curtis Lofton
who is coming off a great rookie season. But Atlanta isn’t very deep at this position,
and any injury situation would be difficult to overcome.
Atlanta’s secondary led by Chris Houston will have to deal with the departures of CB Domonique Foxworth and
SS Lawyer Milloy.
To compensate the Falcons used their second round draft pick on SS William Moore of Missouri.
They also used their 3rd round pick on CB Chris Owens of San Jose State, and 5th round selection
on CB William Middleton of Furman…
However, due to weak performances by their secondary during preseason,
the Falcons traded a 7th round selection to St. Louis for CB Tye Hill.
Keep an eye on the Falcons’ secondary and lack of depth at linebacker.
These units are likely to make or break the Atlanta Falcons in ’09.
Atlanta’s 2009 schedule is far more difficult year over year compared to the slate faced
in ’08. Consider the following imposing matchups on paper;
Twelve of Atlanta’s sixteen games are against squads that are expected to field solid teams in 2009.
There’s no denying Atlanta’s offense is a force to be reckoned with.
However, their secondary may be unable to hold leads.
That could be problematic against a difficult schedule in ’09.
It may be up to Atlanta’s defensive line to mask weakness in pass coverage.
That means keeping Abraham healthy, and perhaps calling on him to play more
Overall we forecast the ’09 Falcons to go (9-7), as a repeat of last season’s
performance won’t be easy in a powerful NFC conference on paper.
However, we now project the Falcons to take the division due to injury woes
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