The 2012 Atlanta Falcons have a huge opportunity to win the division this year with all the turmoil that the Saints are dealing with. They have successfully erased the memory of the past . They have consistently made the playoffs and have been battling with the Saints for division championships every year. But the Falcons are always one or two steps behind when making the push to the conference title game, or better yet, the second round of the playoffs. They have one the most consistent QBs, an All Pro WR, a future Hall of Fame TE, and a top 10 RB. They were able to add a “shutdown” corner in the offseason to help out the defense. It’s not quite now or never, but the Falcons need to make their move this year. It’s long overdue.
Fantasy Football Studs: The Falcons have a lot of weapons in their arsenal. Matt Ryan is not yet considered an elite quarterback, but he can get it done for you on a weekly basis in the fantasy world. Mainly because he has WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones. White is still the main man in the passing game, though he hD a couple of slip ups last season. Even with him not having a record-breaking season last year, he still managed over 1200 yards and 8 TDs. On the other side of the field is “#2″ receiver Jones, who would definitely be a number 1 on just about every other team in the NFL. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s a TO type with better hands and better sense. TE Tony Gonzalez is still getting it done after all these years. Entering in his 16th season in the league, he’s coming off an 80 catch, 875 yard season. Lastly in the cache of weapons that the Falcons have is RB Michael Turner. Turner is still fast and still hits hard. He will continue to be the centerpiece of Atlanta’s offense.
Area of Strength: The strength of this team could very be the running game. But as good as the running game is in Atlanta, the real strength is the passing game. Matt Ryan has slowly improved year after year since coming into the league in 2008. Last year was his best statistical year, topping 4000 yards for the first time in his short career. He also had a 92.2 passer rating, his highest in his NFL tenure, and he threw for 29 TDs, also his highest. He now has the necessary weapons for Him yo continue to go forward and get the Falcons over that hump of making it out of the first round of the playoffs.
Area of Weakness: It’s going to be interesting to watch what the Falcons will do on defense this season. On paper, the defensive unit looks strong. They have some big names with John Abraham and Ray Edwards on the front line, and Brent Grimes and newly acquired Asante Samuel on the defensive backfield. But will the Falcons be able to put it all together on the field. Much like their division mates, the Saints, the defensive team couldn’t stop anybody last year, with the exception of the Colts. They are going to have to be stingy against the run to make any kind of impact. This is the biggest hurdle that the Falcons would need to jump over to get pass the first round of the playoffs.
2012 Marquee Matchups: In addition to the divisional match ups, here are a few other key games. Week 2 the Falcons face Peyton Manning on MNF. Weeks 8 and 9 the Falcons will get tested by the Eagles and then the Cowboys. Week 16 the Falcons will host the Superbowl Champion New York Giants. Christmas week they will also play the steadily improving Detriot Lions.
All Things Atlanta Falcons: There are several ways to keep up with the 2012 Atlanta Falcons. Here are a few we like…
Apps: YinzCam Inc. does have an app for the Atlanta Falcons. It just says 2011…hopefully there will be an updated one for this season.