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Atlanta Falcons Betting – Defense Holds Falcons Back From The Super Bowl

Posted by Stan Simmons on 6/8/2011 5:25:34 PM
atlanta falcons betting

Atlanta’s online betting odds were very good for most of the 2010 season, and they were even favored in the playoffs, but an embarrassing loss at home showed them they still have a way to go before they can be considered a Super Bowl contender. Their defense will improve a little bit next season, but not enough to lift the Falcons to the top of the mountain.

  • Head Coach: Mike Smith
  • Offensive Coordinator: Mike Mularkey
  • Defensive Coordinator: Brian VanGorder
  • Owner: Arthur Blank
  • Stadium: Georgia Dome
  • Capacity: 71,250
  • Super Bowl Wins: 0

Offense

The Atlanta offense was 16th in the NFL last season, and even though you get the feeling that they should be higher, they were a balanced group, ranking 12th on the ground and 15th in the air. Quarterback Matt Ryan was one of six Atlanta players to make the NFC’s Pro Bowl team, along with running back Michael Turner, fullback Ovie Mughelli, receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzalez and tackle Tyson Clabo. But the Falcons felt the need to improve, especially opposite White, who garners so many double-teams, and they made a big move at the draft to move up and take Julio Jones out of Alabama. Jones was the star of the combine with his numbers, and he put up good numbers at Alabama despite the Crimson Tide being primarily a running team. Most importantly, Jones is a great blocker, which could spring Turner for more outside runs. The Falcons gave up five picks to Cleveland to move up and take Jones, so the rookie will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders. However, he’s used to the Georgia Dome, having played there in the 2008 and 2009 SEC title games.

However, they don’t really have a backup if Turner happens to get hurt, and at 29, he doesn’t have much time left as a top-shelf back. Rookie Jacquizz Rodgers isn’t big enough to be an every-down back, while Jason Snelling is only good in small doses. 

Grade: B+

Defense

End John Abraham and cornerback Brent Grimes reached the Pro Bowl for the Falcons’ defense, which ranked 16th at the end of the regular season. Atlanta was 11th against the pass, but 23rd against the run, and they obviously paid more attention to that area of the game as they’re in a division with Drew Brees and New Orleans, their biggest NFL betting rivals and obstacles in the NFC South. Abraham was a monster coming off the end with 13.0 sacks, while Grimes forms a solid duo at the corner with Dunta Robinson, although Robinson could stand to pick a few more passes after snatching just one in his first year in Atlanta. Safeties Thomas McCloud and William Moore are growing into their positions, and Moore was tied with Grimes for the team lead in picks with five.

The Falcons could definitely stand to improve at linebacker, where Curtis Lofton does the best he can, but Stephen Nicholas is probably a second-stringer who starts, and Sean Witherspoon is still young. The NFL is turning into a passing league, but you still have to stop the run, and the Falcons couldn’t do that in 2010. Tackle Corey Peters still has room to grow at 22, though.

Grade: C-

Special Teams

The Falcons ranked in the bottom half of covering punts and kicks, so that will have to be improved, and they were worse when it comes to returning on special teams. Rodgers could be asked to boost that aspect of the game as he was electrifying in the open field in college, so that could be his path to the starting lineup.

Grade: D

Prediction

NFL betting odds has the Falcons at +1400 to win the Super Bowl, and at +110 to win the South, just ahead of the Saints, and these two will try to hold off surging Tampa Bay. The Falcons are tied for 19th in terms of schedule strength, although that may not be important until you see some teams play. The playoffs are a must for the Falcons, and their fans will be expecting another South crown, which is possible as they have the offense to shoot it out with anyone in the league.

However, their defense has been shaky and they were lit up by eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs, and even though they proved to be solid against the pass during the regular season, their pass defense got torn apart by Aaron Rodgers and company. We know that Atlanta can score, but their ability to stop the most explosive teams in the conference will be the key to their sports betting odds. That’s enough for us to avoid their Super Bowl odds.

2011 Schedule

  • Week 1 – at Chicago (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 2 – vs. Philadelphia (8:20 PM ET)
  • Week 3 – at Tampa Bay (4:15 PM ET)
  • Week 4 – at Seattle (4:05 PM ET)
  • Week 5 – vs. Green Bay (8:30 PM ET)
  • Week 6 – vs. Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 7 – at Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 9 – at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 10 – vs. New Orleans (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 11 – vs. Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 12 – vs. Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 13 – at Houston (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 14 – at Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
  • Week 15 – vs. Jacksonville (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
  • Week 16 – at New Orleans (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
  • Week 17 – vs. Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET)

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