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Injuries completely derailed the Falcons' season last year. Atlanta went from the NFC Championship Game to a 4-12 mess last season, finishing tied with Tampa Bay for last place in the NFC South.

Steven Jackson, Julio Jones and Roddy White all missed time, which led to a frustrating and very long season for quarterback Matt Ryan. Despite his majors weapons being repeatedly neutralized by injury, though, Ryan did put up respectable numbers, passing for 4515 yards with 26 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Atlanta Falcons Odds to Win NFC South: +450 at Bovada
Atlanta Falcons Odds to Win Super Bowl: 40/1 at Bovada
Atlanta Falcons Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 at Bovada
Atlanta Falcons Betting Props: Matt Ryan to Win NFL MVP 33/1 at Bovada

Ryan should be able to improve on those numbers across the board this season if Jones and White stay on the field. Jones played in only five games last season (averaging 116 receiving yards per game), while White missed three games and wasn’t as effective without Jones across the field. One big hole Atlanta needs to fill this season is at tight end. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez retired after the season which strips Ryan of one of his go-to red zone targets.

Signing Jackson to try and bolster the running game proved to be disaster. Jackson missed the first four games of the season and never got on track, rushing for only 543 yards. Overall the Falcons had the worst running game in the league, averaging only 77.9 yards per game. By comparison NFL leading rusher LeSean McCoy average 100 yards per game alone last season. If Jackson’s downward trend continues this season Atlanta drafted Devonta Freeman in the fourth round and he has impressed so far in rookie camp and the preseason.

Also in need of a boost after last season was the Atlanta offensive line. Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times last season. Atlanta drafted OT Jake Matthews in the first round and he’s expected to have an immediate impact along with acquisition of Jon Asamoah.

The Atlanta defense also disappointed last season, especially against the run. No team in the league surrendered more yards on the ground than the Falcons did last season. One big blow to the defense last season was missing linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for 10 games due to injury. Atlanta will have to get used to that, as Weatherspoon has already been lost for the season after rupturing his Achilles in June.

The defense did make a few notable acquisitions including DE Tyson Jackson and Pro Bowl DT Paul Soliai. Draft pick Ra’Shede Hageman is also expected to add some much needed punch to the defensive line.

Anyone betting on the Falcons in pretty much any situation last season came away poorer. Overall Atlanta was 7-9 ATS, which included 4-4 ATS at home, 3-5 ATS on the road, and 2-3 ATS when favored.

NFC South Odds at Bovada as of August 5
New Orleans Saints -150
Atlanta Falcons +450
Carolina Panthers +450
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +550

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The Atlanta Falcons finished with the best regular season record in the NFC last season at 13-3 SU with a 9-6-1 ATS record to go with it, but once again fell short in the playoffs. Will this be the year that Atlanta finally turns regular season success into a Super Bowl run?

Odds to Win NFC South: +130 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 10 at Bovada
Betting Props: Matt Ryan to win NFL MVP (15/1) at Bovada

Last year’s 13-3 SU season marked the second time the Falcons had achieved that record and won the NFC South in three years. But while the Falcons have enjoyed a 56-24 SU record in five years under quarterback Matt Ryan, they are just 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS over that span in the postseason. Can the Falcons break the mold this year?

Atlanta seized control of the NFC South with an 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS record right out of the gate and never looked back. Despite Michael Turner’s lack of production in the running game, Atlanta finished eighth in the NFL in total yards per game with 369.1 and seventh in points per game with 26.2 thanks to the brilliant play of Matt Ryan, who passed for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez all return to form one of the best receiving corps in the game, and the addition of running back Steven Jackson should make the offense even more dangerous.

But will the defense be able to hold up its end of the bargain? The Falcons finished fifth in points per game against with 18.7 last year, but there may have been some luck involved as they finished in the bottom third of the league in yardage surrendered both through the air and on the ground. Atlanta lost some big names on defense to free agency, and will rely on free agent signing Osi Umenyiora and a slew of draft picks to pick up the slack.

Even if the defense falters, the NFC South is all about offense; and Atlanta has plenty of it to duke it out with the Saints for the title.

NFC South Odds at Bovada as of August 3
Atlanta Falcons +130
New Orleans Saints +150
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +500
Carolina Panthers +550