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X-Factors: Falcons Have Two On Offense

Matt Ryan Will Need Help From These Two Players in 2021

The 2021 NFL season is upon us in the form of training camp and the Atlanta Falcons are hoping to prove some of their doubters wrong. After another rough season in 2020 that ended with a 4-12 record and a last-place finish in the NFC South, Matt Ryan and company are hoping to rebound.

As was the case for many teams, the offseason brought a lot of change for the Falcons. Julio Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans. That move alone made the fan base question even more what this team could do in 2021.

However, the Falcons have plenty of young players capable of developing and stepping up into bigger roles this season. If they want to compete for a playoff spot, they will need quite a few players to step up in many different positions.

READ MORE: WATCH: Rookie Pitts Is 'Human Highlight Reel' At Falcons Camp

So who are the Falcons that need to produce as X-Factors? 

2. Mike Davis, Running Back

First things first, the Falcons need to have a more consistent running game this season. Todd Gurley did not return in free agency, which led to the signing of Mike Davis and projection of him being the starter.

During the 2020 season with the Carolina Panthers, Davis put together a very good season with Christian McCaffrey on the sidelines due to injury issues. He carried 165 times for 642 yards and six touchdowns. Davis also caught 59 passes for 373 yards and two more scores.

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In the Falcons' offense, Davis has the potential to put up even bigger numbers. Atlanta will still rely heavily on the pass, but they need a balance. Davis will be asked to provide that balance.

Davis is one of the biggest key X-Factors for the Falcons in 2021. If he has a good year and remains consistent and productive, the Atlanta offense should still be very dangerous.

1. Russell Gage, Wide Receiver

Calvin Ridely steps into Jones' No. 1 role, but the Falcons need a reliable second option. Gage has the opportunity to be that guy.

READ MORE: Falcons Have A 'Special' CB, Says Atlanta WR Gage

He saw plenty of action during the 2020 season due to some nagging injury issues for the Falcons at the wide receiver position. He was able to haul in 72 passes for 786 yards and four touchdowns. More opportunities in 2021 should lead to bigger numbers.

The 6-foot, 184-pound wide receiver has a lot of pressure on his shoulders this year. Filling Ridley's role from last season will be no easy task. But, he has been strong in training camp thus far and appears ready for the challenge.

Ryan is still a more than capable star quarterback. He is going to put up good production in 2021, but he needs help from Davis and Gage in their new, larger roles in the Falcons' offense.