It's been 35 years since the Atlanta Falcons held the NFL's worst record, but NFL Network analyst Adam Rank believes that drought could end in 2022.
In his game-by-game schedule breakdown, Rank has incredibly low expectations for the Falcons, finishing 2-15 for the season and landing the No. 1 pick.
Rank believes that the Falcons will beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, who will likely be without newly-acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson. The second win comes in Week 10 on the road against the Carolina Panthers.
The two-win season comes under the team's 4.5 win total according to WynnBET’s projections.
Last season, the Falcons seemingly outperformed preseason expectations by posting a 7-10 record in head coach Arthur Smith’s first season, but the team’s preseason over/under win total was 7.5.
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Atlanta’s significant drop in projected wins stems from the losses of quarterback Matt Ryan (traded to Indianapolis) and receiver Calvin Ridley (suspended). The Falcons are now faced with a quarterback battle between veteran Marcus Mariota, who hasn’t started a game since 2019, and rookie third-rounder Desmond Ridder.
At receiver, Atlanta’s top option is rookie Drake London, whom the team drafted No. 8 overall. The Falcons also added Bryan Edwards from the Las Vegas Raiders among several other depth pieces.
Based off of 2021 records, the Falcons face the ninth-hardest schedule in the league. So, for a team that went 7-10 last season and is now tasked with replacing two of its best offensive players, the 4.5 projected wins mark feels fair.
For the Falcons to outperform expectations, they’ll need their two quarterbacks to get up to speed quickly, and execute the offense in the manner Smith wants. Neither are expected to elevate the offense around them, but simply keeping the unit on schedule gives the team a chance.
If they can do all of this, the Falcons could make Rank eat his words.