After reaching the Super Bowl in 2016, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons had a slightly lesser campaign a year ago, even though they still managed to go 10-6 and reach the playoffs before falling to eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia 15-10 in their divisional round matchup.
The Falcons fought hard to overcome the loss of offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan who helped them become the highest scoring offense in the league one year earlier. Atlanta finished the 2017 season ranked a modest 15th in scoring (22.1 ppg), but they improved vastly on the defensive side of the ball to finish eighth in points allowed (19.7 ppg).
Now, as they get set for the quickly approaching 2018 regular season, the Falcons are expecting to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders once again. Whether they’ll be able to accomplish their goal of reaching Super Bowl 52 or now is a long way off. However, there are a handful of must-bet games the Falcons will play in this coming season that no NFL betting enthusiast should miss out on wagering on.
Here they are!
Atlanta Falcons 2018 NFL Betting Guide
It’s here: our 2018 schedule.📅: https://t.co/hypjuSjkUf pic.twitter.com/rf2YmtlMma — Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 20, 2018
Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 6, at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 PM ET
The Falcons won’t go down easily, but they are going down against a Philadelphia Eagles team that is still loaded with talent and is probably hungrier now to win a Super Bowl than they were last season when it was all just a dream. Superstar quarterback Carson Wentz will be back from his ACL injury and Philly will get the home win, although it’s going to be close.
NFL Betting Pick: Eagles 24 Falcons 21
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:00 PM ET
The Falcons have won four straight against their longtime NFC South division rivals in Carolina when they throw down in the ATL and this Week 2 matchup will make it five straight as part of their almost annual regular season split.
NFL Betting Pick: Atlanta 23 Carolina 20
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, vs. New Orleans Saints, 1:00 PM ET
The Falcons beat their division rivals at home 20-17 in Week 14 and then fell in the Big Easy 23-13 two weeks later. You had better expect another regular season split between two teams that are oh, so evenly matched up!
NFL Betting Pick: Falcons 27 Saints 24
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 PM ET
I think this Week 5 Inter-Conference clash will be a pretty good measuring stick for both Super Bowl hopefuls seeing as how they both fell short of their intended destinations last season but will both enter 2018 with legitimate hopes again. It’s Matt Ryan vs. Ben Roethlisberger, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman vs. Le’Veon Bell and arguably the two best receivers in the game today, Julio Jones vs. Antonio Brown. I’m thinking Pittsburgh gets the narrow win in a flat-out thriller simply because they’re at home.
NFL Betting Pick: Pittsburgh 28 Atlanta 27
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1:00 ET
Maybe it’s the Philadelphia in me, but anytime I get to see the Cowboys get beat, it’s a good day. All jokes aside, Atlanta smacked Dallas senseless in their 27-7 Week 10 win last season and I can see them beating the Boys again when they square off in this Week 11 showdown. I know the Cowboys will likely have star running back Ezekiel Elliott back on the field and that he will make a huge difference how their offense operates this coming season, but I still believe Atlanta has the far better defense and the edge at quarterback. The Falcons make it two straight over Dallas!
NFL Betting Pick: Falcons 28 Cowboys 21
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Green Bay, 1:00 PM ET
My final must-bet matchup on Atlanta’s 2018 schedule is their Week 14 road date at Green Bay. While I believe the Falcons are going to be the better of the two teams this coming season, I just don’t see Atlanta marching into cold Green Bay in December and beating Aaron Rodgers and company when almost no one is able to pull off this feat. The Packers are difficult to take out on their frozen tundra and Rodgers takes his play to another level altogether the later it gets every season. Green bay gets the hard-fought win in this one!
NFL Betting Pick: Packers 24 Falcons 21