The Atlanta Falcons posted a 7-9 record in 2018, and the sports betting authorities have predicted a similar 2019 for them, with the earliest win-loss total for the Falcons coming in at 8 ½ games. An interesting feature of their schedule is that all six divisional games come in the last eight weeks of the season, after their Week 9 bye. They also have a difficult start, with six of their first nine opponents having made the postseason in 2018 and with four of their first six games away from Atlanta. Can they make it past 8 ½ wins in the NFL odds — and possibly into the playoffs? Check out our thoughts on their schedule here.
Atlanta Falcons 2019 NFL Win/Loss Betting Predictions
As we pointed out, the opening of the schedule is brutal — they begin in Minnesota, against a Vikings team that remains an enigma but still features a talented quarterback in Kirk Cousins, a stellar wide receiving duo in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and a stout defense on paper. One bonus is that 12 of the Falcons’ 16 games are played indoors — and they finish with four of six at home, so if they can hang around during the tough stretches, they could catch and pass some other NFC contenders on the back end.
The Falcons’ offense remains a strength; in 2018, they averaged 25.9 points per game. Where the Falcons ran into trouble last year was in getting defensive stops when they needed them. This year, the offense will face some significant challenges in games outside the division, as five of their non-divisional opponents ranked in the top 10 as far as scoring defense goes last year: Tennessee, Jacksonville, Houston, Minnesota and Indianapolis.
Recovery from injuries will also play a major role in the Falcons’ success. Tailback Devonta Freeman (groin), free safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles tendon) and strong safety Keanu Neal (ACL) all saw their 2018 campaigns come to an early end, and their recovery will have a significant impact on how well the Falcons do this coming season.
Slowing down fast quarterbacks will also be a matter of priority for the Falcons. They will see Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, and Russell Wilson in games outside the division, and they have Cam Newton and Jameis Winston in the NFC South. Containing those quarterbacks while also maintaining coverage down the field will be a significant challenge. Head coach Dan Quinn will be calling the defensive plays this year after the Falcons permitted 26.4 points per game in 2018. Quinn’s expertise is defense, so this should help what was a subpar unit in 2018.
What about Matt Ryan? The Falcons’ quarterback signed a five-year, $150 million deal a year ago. Of that money, $100 million was fully guaranteed; if the Falcons cut him next offseason, they would have almost $70 million counting in dead money on their cap, and still over $35 million if they do it after the 2020 campaign, so it looks like Ryan is the leader for the foreseeable future. He faces a lot of questions about his ability to win big games, but his arm and talent are not in question by any means.
Atlanta Falcons 2019 NFL Season Schedule
- Week 1: at Minnesota
- Week 2: Philadelphia
- Week 3: at Indianapolis
- Week 4: Tennessee
- Week 5: at Houston
- Week 6: at Arizona
- Week 7: L.A. Rams
- Week 8: Seattle
- Week 9: BYE
- Week 10: at New Orleans
- Week 11: at Carolina
- Week 12: Tampa Bay
- Week 13: New Orleans
- Week 14: Carolina
- Week 15: at San Francisco
- Week 16: Jacksonville
- Week 17: at Tampa Bay
The most winnable games here are Philadelphia, Tennessee, Arizona, Seattle, Tampa Bay (twice), Carolina and Jacksonville. That makes eight games — and I’m not sure they win more than that. So I’m taking the under here.