The Atlanta Falcons should have won Super Bowl LI over New England but blew a huge third-quarter lead and lost. Things have essentially gone downhill since, yet this franchise still has Dan Quinn as its coach. What to look for from the 2020 Falcons? Here’s an overview of the Atlanta Falcons and their NFL Odds as it stands.
Atlanta Falcons Odds After Free Agency Week 1
There was no reason to think the Falcons WOULDN’T be contenders following Week 2 last season when the Falcons beat the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, the eventual NFC East champs, 24-20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The most memorable play of Atlanta’s season came in that one as star wideout Julio Jones turned a fourth-down screen pass into a 54-yard winning touchdown with 2:10 remaining.
However, the Falcons lost their next six games. Out of a Week 9 bye, Atlanta pulled one of the NFL’s biggest upsets in years in winning 26-9 at New Orleans, which entered on a six-game winning streak and was a 14-point home favorite.
It was the fourth time — and the first since 2001 — that a team on a losing streak of at least six games beat a team on a winning streak of at least six games, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. The others came in 1973 and 1948. It was the first time since 2003 that a team with a record of 7-1 or better lost to a team with a record of 1-7 or worse.
The Falcons won again the next week in an upset at Carolina but then lost their next two and that was that on the season. On the bright side, the team did win its final four to finish a solid 7-9. Still, most thought coach Dan Quinn was going to be fired, but owner Arthur Blank is giving him one more year.
Surprising because it’s the first time in Blank’s ownership that he has not fired a coach after consecutive seasons with .500 or losing records. Mike Smith, the coach with the most wins in franchise history (66), was fired after a 4-12 and 6-10 seasons in 2013 and 2014. Jim Mora was fired after going 8-8 and 7-9 in 2005 and 2006.
Atlanta Falcons offseason moves
The Falcons had very little salary-cap space to play with this offseason and said goodbye to the likes of running back Devonta Freeman, tight end Austin Hooper, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, linebacker Vic Beasley and cornerback Desmond Trufant.
To replace Hooper, the Dirty Birds traded for Baltimore tight end Hayden Hurst. The 26-year-old was selected by the Ravens with the 25th-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after a standout college career at South Carolina. In his two seasons with the Ravens, Hurst caught 43 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns. Hurst earned a 72.4 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2019, which ranked 14th among all NFL tight ends. Atlanta gave up one of their second-round picks (No. 55 overall) and their fifth-round pick (No. 157 overall) in this year’s NFL Draft for Hurts and the Ravens’ fourth-round pick.
To replace Beasley, the team signed Dante Fowler Jr. The third-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Fowler recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks for the Los Angeles Rams last season. During his four seasons in the league, Fowler has recorded 141 tackles, 34 tackles for a loss and 27.5 sacks. The Falcons finished with 28 sacks last season, which was tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. Fowler knows Quinn well because Quinn recruited Fowler to play in college at Florida.
Finally, the Falcons pounced on running back Todd Gurley when the Rams released the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Gurley, 25, is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro who was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and the Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 when he gained 2,093 yards from scrimmage and led all NFL players with 19 touchdowns. He had 21 TDs in 2018 but regressed last year, is wildly overpaid and has bad knees. He starred in college at Georgia. It’s a low-risk, high-reward signing.
- Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Raiders, Seattle Seahawks.
- Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons odds to win Super Bowl 55
The Falcons are +5000 Odds to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history next February in Tampa.