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2021 Atlanta Falcons: Out Goes Quinn; Ryan Stays
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Atlanta Falcons: Out Goes Quinn; Ryan Stays

The Falcons made the decision to stick with 36 year-old Matt Ryan as their quarterback in 2021 and they are determined to fix the offensive line, run the ball better, and protect Ryan and give him more time to throw. They coaxed veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees out of retirement to retool a defense that looks shaky on paper.

It’s not like Ryan is declining. He threw for 4581 yards and 26 touchdowns and that was without top receiver Julio Jones. He has been sacked 131 times over the past three seasons and keeping him upright has to be a top priority in 2021. In the 3rd round they drafted offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield and hope he can start immediately. Chris Lindstrom and Jake Matthews are good enough but the results haven’t been there. The Falcons dumped their top three running backs from a year ago and signed Mike Davis from Carolina and he is not exactly a household name. The receivers are top of the line with Calvin Ridley (90 catches, 1374 yards, 9 TDs) Russell Gage ( 72 catches for 786 yards) and the returning Julio Jones. And they drafted highly-regarded Kyle Pitts at tight end.

Defensively are where the problems begin. Upfront, Grady Jarrett returns and they drafted Ta’Quon Graham and Adetokunbo Ogundeji. Foye Oluokun (116 tackles) is back at linebacker and he will be joined by Deion Jones (105 tackles). Free agents, Duron Harmon and Erik Harris, were signed to shore up a secondary that was deficient in so many critical areas in 2020.


Must Wins: Philadelphia, Washington, NY Jets, Carolina, Detroit, at Jacksonville

Toss-Up Games: New England, New Orleans, at NY Giants, at Miami, at Dallas, at Carolina

Probable Losses: Tampa Bay, at Tampa Bay, at New Orleans, at San Francisco, at Buffalo

Summary in Two Sentences: This is a team with good players at the skilled positions and they are strong at linebacker. The schedule isn’t terribly hard and if they can improve along the offensive line and in the secondary, they have a shot at the playoffs.

Predicted Finish: 3rd Place in the NFC South

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