To say the NFL Network isn’t expecting much from the Atlanta Falcons during the 2022 season would be an understatement. In fact, one analyst has predicted the Falcons will stay on top of the league’s standings and win the least game in football this year.
The 1-8 start crippled the Falcons’ chance to take a giant leap into the second year of general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith’s tenure. Any prospects of improving last season’s 7-10 record will be more affected by the troubles of the back four, with rookie Desmond Ridder expected to replace the old man Marcus Mariota at some point. there.
The dubious reward for this much-anticipated significant setback would be Atlanta owning the top pick for the 2023 draft. It’s almost as guaranteed of landing a franchise player as you can get. in NFL terms, but if the Falcons pick for the first time next April 27, Smith and Fontenot will likely no longer be here and the team will enter an entirely different phase of rebuilding.
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Falcons Falter Without Matt Ryan to save them
NFL’s Network Fantasy analyst Adam Rank recently gave his game-by-match predictions for every team’s performance this season. The ratings helped the Falcons finish 2-15 after opening the season with a loss to bottom-placed New Orleans Saints and defending Super Bowl champions Los Angeles Rams.
The ratings don’t convince Mariota or Ridder to be able to successfully replace Matt Ryan and navigate a schedule rated as the ninth hardest in the league. Eagle transaction Ryan returned to the Indianapolis Colts in March and is trying to replace him with Mariota, who has been a substitute for the Las Vegas Raiders for the past two years, and Ridder, a third-round pick.
It didn’t go well in the ratings’ predictions, with the Falcons’ only win throughout the first half of the rankings coming in Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns. That ‘W’ seems like the only bright spot for Mariota, with the ratings giving Ridder “a chance to see what he can do, because this team will likely play for a top pick. “
There is every opportunity for Ridder to come on as a rookie. He’s the second QB made in this year’s draft and has made a positive impression on Smith, according to Maria Martin of 11Alive News:
Rank believes that Ridder’s competitive play in his first season in the pro is more realistic than Mariota becoming the “next Ryan Tannehill”. Mariota then took his place when Smith was doing the offense for the Tennessee Titans in 2019.
Mariota has a lot to prove, maybe even more than some of those who have yet to hit the pass. This much uncertainty at the heart of football is why the Ratings have a Week 10 win over the Carolina Panthers en route as the Falcons’ only other success of the season.
Ultimately, Rank said, “Matt Ryan has been so much better than we’ve given him, and this team is struggling.” That’s a bleak prediction, but one cannot overstate the challenge Mariota and Ridder face in replacing Ryan.
A duo that elicits more questions than answers are being asked to make fans forget the Falcons’ all-time leader in every meaningful passing category, each ESPN Stats & Info:
Ryan also led the Falcons to a record seven wins in 14 seasons, including earning six playoff spots and a trip to Super Bowl LI after the 2016 season.
Ryan is a tough act to follow, and the Falcons could have to endure another year of suffering to get a new franchise quarterback.
CJ Stroud, Bryce Young Potential reward for 1st place
Ending with the NFL’s worst record and owning next year’s top pick would put the Falcons in the role of a potential franchise midfield pair. Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young are both popular picks to be the first player to play 10 months from now.
The Falcons are also being introduced widely by mock draft prognosticators to get into position to pick one of those passersby. Crimson signal caller Tide Young goes to the Falcons a second time overall, according to Yardbarker’s Seth Tracthman, who picked Atlanta one pick after the Houston Texans took Stroud.
Young would be a worthy pick after winning the Heisman Trophy and dominating the SEC pass charts a year ago, each College football reference:
Another prediction, this one from Jacob Schyvinck of Fansided’s NFL Mocks, is more in line with Rank’s thinking. Schyvinck gave the Falcons a pre-select and chose the Buckeyes star Stroud.
The latter played his way to the highest potential payout in the draft with a spectacular showing last season Rose bowl:
Drafting Stroud or Young will stimulate the Falcons fan base and give the franchise a legit blue-chip talent to build around. Still, don’t underestimate the Falcons going to be bad enough this year to own the top pick for ’23.
It’s important to remember a few things. First, it’s too early in the draft simulator season to consider Stroud or Young as first pick keys.
Second, it’s too early to accurately predict the win or lose in the NFL. Those predictions were never an exact science, and it was unlikely that Rank would take his predictions completely seriously. He once famously beat the San Francisco 49ers to a 3-13 finish ahead of the 2019 season, when the Niners actually went on to win Super Bowl LIV.
Most importantly, the Falcons played better than advertised last season, although the talent on both sides is still too small. Three of their 10 losses have come by 10 points or less, according to Pro Football Reference.
Earning seven wins is an endorsement of Smith and his staff, even when Ryan throws passes. Fontenot has since added useful players such as full-back Casey Hayward, midfield midfielder Rashaan Evans and passer Drake London, the eighth and first pick of the year draft. now.
Those new faces join an interesting core led by tight ending Kyle Pitts, the cover man AJ Terrell, facing Grady Jarrett and running against Cordarrelle Patterson. The Falcons have parts to prove some of the naysayers wrong this season.
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