Projected record: 10–6
What could have been had top cornerback Desmond Trufant stayed healthy? We won’t know, but Thomas Dimitroff has done a fantastic job at locking down the future of the Falcons with an extension for Trufant, a fifth-year option on left tackle Jake Matthews, and a one-year deal for Dontari Poe in free agency. Next up: extensions for both Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman.
Pivotal game: Week 11 at Seahawks. Of course, the Packers and Patriots will both be huge tests for Atlanta, but let’s focus on Seattle. This game comes two weeks after a tough divisional road game in Carolina, a week after a home game against the Cowboys and a week before trendy NFC South contender Tampa Bay comes to town. The Falcons were a blown call away from winning in Seattle last year, and they get another crack at it in 2017.