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Falcons Backers Hope for More Consistency

Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons NFL

Remember last season when the Atlanta Falcons looked like one of the most dangerous teams in football? Matt Ryan and Co. came flying out of the gate, posting a 5-0 straight up record through five weeks and averaged a whopping 32.4 points per game.

Bettors flocked to fill their betting slips with the Dirty Birds as they stormed out to cover the number in their first four games. That was short lived, however, as they proceeded to post a record of 0-9 ATS and 2-7 SU in their following nine games. How they mighty do fall.

By season’s end, the Falcons had a record of 8-8 and missed out on the playoffs altogether as the early-season hype train was stopped dead in its tracks.

Prospects for the upcoming season do not look much better in Atlanta as the Falcons will bring a lot of the same to the table in 2016: some impressive offensive numbers countered by some painfully average defense that is going to be peppered with unproven players.

Here’s a look at their odds for the upcoming season:

Super Bowl +5000

The Falcons haven’t made the postseason since the 2012 campaign so if you’re dropping some of your hard-earned cash on this team to win the Super Bowl, you’re either a die-hard fan or a family member of one of the players. That said, we know this team has the capability to look good at any point as proven by their stellar play (on offense at least) through five weeks in 2015.

There are certainly star players on the field here (Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and you can make a case for Devonta Freeman) but beyond the excellent offensive line, there is no depth at any position or unit on this team.

They added DE Derrick Shelby and, most notably, WR Mohamed Sanu via free agency earlier on this year, but those probably aren’t really the signings that will take this team to the next level.

Atlanta made the playoffs in three-straight seasons from 2010 through 2012 but haven’t been back since. There’s something to this team, but they need to improve the roster before we even see this team in the postseason let alone hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

NFC South +550

See above, basically.

That 2012 season was the last time they won the division crown and while this Falcons team is stuck middling, fellow NFC South tenants Carolina and Tampa Bay are certainly getting better.

The real number that makes this wager shady is their dismal 1-5 record against the division last year. If you go 1-5 within the division, you ain’t winning anything.

OVER/UNDER Win Total 7.5

Since 2013, the Falcons have won four games, six games and eight respectively. I’m not saying the Birds will win 10 games in 2016, but that does show the team is trending positively so maybe a repeat of that eight-win number is in play this year.

If you believe in strength of schedule, you have already stopped reading since the Falcons feature the hardest schedule in the league this season. Teams they face this year posted a combined record of 142-114 last year. The Panthers (twice), Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs are all featured on that nightmarish schedule.

Matt Ryan to lead the NFL in Passing Yards +1000

The easy way out is to just go ahead and back Julio to lead the NFL in receiving yards at +300, but we’ll chase the better value with the gun slinger under center.

The Falcons put the ball in the air a lot as they attempted 621 passes (8th in the NFL) and completed 410 of those (5th) for 4,379 yards (6th). The bulk of that went to Jones with a good portion going to RB Freeman and TE Jacob Tamme. Enter Sanu, who got a 5-year, $32.5 Million contract in the offseason to be a legit No. 2 threat in the league.

Absolutely a lot of money for a guy that caught 33 balls for just 394 yards with the Cincinnati Bengals last year. Sanu is athletic, though, and if he does become the complementary piece to Jones that the club envisions, then Ryan will be the beneficiary.

2016 Atlanta Falcons Futures Odds
Super Bowl+5000
NFC Championship+2800
NFC South+550
Win Total7.5

Odds as of August 25 at Bovada