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NFC South Retirements: Falcons Poised for Worst to First?

With two major offseason retirements in their division, the Falcons' 2022 outlook is already improving

With all the news that has been breaking as of late within the NFL, two major decisions could help the Atlanta Falcons fare better in the NFC South next season

Retirements from both New Orleans Saints' head coach Sean Payton and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback Tom Brady leave the road to success wide open for the Falcons. Both have been thorns in Atlanta's side for years.

After his move south to Tampa, the Falcons went 0-4 against Brady and surrendered 30+ points in each defeat. And no other NFL head coach has more wins over Atlanta than Payton (21).

Bottom line: Good riddance(s).

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Payton announced his decision to retire on Jan. 25, after 16 seasons with the franchise. He leaves with a 152-89 regular season record, going 9-8 in the playoffs and winning Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints have yet to hire a replacement, and it will be a hard job to do considering Payton is the most successful coach in franchise history.

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Then there is the vacancy at quarterback for Tampa Bay. We're not sure if there is a team more thrilled for Brady's retirement than Atlanta.

Let's be real, we could waste your time reviewing all the possible scenarios for who will need to step up under center for the Bucs, but no matter who it is, Brady's shoes are big ones to fill so it will end up being a step back for the team regardless. 

The loss of Brady for Tampa Bay, and Carolina backing Sam Darnold as its starter for 2022, leaves 36-year-old Matt Ryan as the best quarterback in the NFC South. 

The Super Bowl has yet to be played, so this off-season hasn't officially started. But with these two retirements on rival teams, the Falcons are already off and running toward a winning 2022 season.