Every year I put my prognostication skills to the test to lay out the “ultimate” predictions post, projecting not only the Atlanta Falcons season but also the outcomes for the 31 other NFL teams as well.
Here you’ll find my Super Bowl picks, top award-winners and even my statistical projections for various Falcon players.
2017 Atlanta Falcons Schedule Projection
Falcons Final 2017 Record: 11-5
2017 NFL Standings Projection
Here are my projections of all 256 regular-season games as well as the playoffs. Fortunately this wasn’t as daunting as it sounds, thanks to an NFL Predictor tool found here.
Patriots (14-2): The Patriots face some challenges, but it’s difficult to see them not find a way to overcome them with an improved team from a year ago. A team that won the Super Bowl by the way.
Dolphins (8-8): The Dolphins will get some wins thanks to playing in a soft division, but for the most part the brief Jay Cutler Era won’t be an overly successful one.
Bills (4-12): The Bills are “tanking” in the hopes of landing their franchise quarterback in 2018. If that works out for them, perhaps Bills fans will be able to forget what is likely to be a pretty forgettable season.
Jets (2-14): The Jets are my pick to be the league’s worst team. They’ll have an easier path to getting their franchise QB over the Bills simply because they’ll hold the No. 1 pick next April.
Steelers (11-5): The Steelers will once again be the premier team in this division, but I do wonder if Le’Veon Bell’s holdout will have a negative impact down the stretch.
Bengals (8-8): They should bounce back and look like a playoff-bound team at times this year, but their offensive line will ultimately prevent them from getting there.
Ravens (7-9): I expect a slow start to the Ravens before a stronger finish. Not sure however if head coach John Harbaugh will survive another year without a playoff berth.
Brown (4-12): The Browns will improve upon their 1-15 finish from a year ago, so that’s something.
Texans (11-5): I suspect a slower-than-expected start will force the Texans to turn to Deshaun Watson at quarterback, who I suspect the city will rally behind as he leads them deep into the playoffs.
Titans (10-6): Basically expect the Titans to have a 2017 much like the Raiders’ 2016, as the young, upstart team that enamors many. Except the Titans actually have a good defense.
Colts (6-10): A slow start will be a little too late for Andrew Luck to single-handedly save their season.
Jaguars (3-13): The concerns at the quarterback position give me pause in thinking that this team will make any improvements over last year’s record.
Chiefs (11-5): The Chiefs have dominated their division the past two years, and I don’t suspect that’ll change in 2017.
Raiders (10-6): I suspect they’ll be a bit up and down this year, but their offense should be able to carry them into the postseason.
Broncos (8-8): Their defense will keep them competitive but they still have too many questions at quarterback.
Chargers (7-9): A very tough middle stretch of the season, I think will prevent the Chargers from cracking the postseason.
Eagles (9-7): With a more disciplined Carson Wentz and a top-shelf defense, the Eagles could be in the driver’s seat in this division.
Giants (8-8): I suspect a step back on defense coupled with an up-and-down offensive performance will lead the Giants back to mediocrity.
Cowboys (8-8): The looming uncertainty over Ezekiel Elliott’s status for this year hangs a dark cloud that could prompt a regression from this team.
Redskins (7-9): This division’s “also ran” will be unable to make a legit push for the postseason.
Packers (11-5): It’s hard not seeing the Packers once again dominating this division.
Vikings (10-6): The presence of Dalvin Cook should boost the offense to competence alongside one of the league’s premier defenses.
Lions (6-10): A bad defense coupled with a mundane offense prevents me from buying any Lions stock this year.
Bears (5-11): Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will provide a spark at times, but overall their depth is too shallow to survive this season.
Atlanta (11-5): While offensive regression is likely, the Falcons will ride the coattails of an improved defense back into the postseason.
Panthers (9-7): A slow start might hinder the Panthers from a rebound year, but they could get hot down the stretch.
Buccaneers (9-7): At times this team could look dangerous, but they might be just a smidge too erratic to put it all together this year.
Saints (7-9): Even with some talent infused into the secondary, the Saints are staring another losing season in the face thanks to a porous defense.
Seahawks (13-3): A slightly improved offensive line coupled with a vastly improved defense should get Seattle back to the top of the NFC.
Cardinals (8-8): The Cardinals simply lack the firepower on offense to really make a push at this division.
Rams (7-9): The infusion of strong coaching from Sean McVay and Wade Phillips will have the Rams looking legit at various points during the year.
49ers (4-12): The 49ers will be much more competitive in their losses than many might think, but they will be losses nonetheless.
Wildcard Round: (6) Raiders over (3) Chiefs
Wildcard Round: (4) Steelers over (5) Titans
Divisional Round: (1) Patriots over (6) Raiders
Divisional Round: (2) Texans over (4) Steelers
AFC Championship Game: (1) Patriots over (2) Texans
Wildcard Round: (3) Packers over (6) Panthers
Wildcard Round: (5) Vikings over (4) Eagles
Divisional Round: (1) Seahawks over (5) Vikings
Divisional Round: (2) Falcons over (3) Packers
NFC Championship Game: (1) Seahawks over (2) Falcons
Super Bowl 52: Seahawks over Patriots
Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Houston, Chiefs
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Texans
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Reuben Foster, 49ers
Coach of the Year: Mike Mularkey, Titans
Comeback Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, Texans
Biggest Acquisition: Eddie Lacy, Seahawks
Last Undefeated Teams
Last Winless Teams
2017 Atlanta Falcons Stat Projections
Matt Ryan: 569 attempts, 388 completions, 68.2%, 4485 yards, 29 TDs, 14 INTs, 98.5 rating
Matt Schaub: 13 attempts, 8 completions, 61.5%, 83 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 80.0 rating
Devonta Freeman: 224 attempts, 1007 yards, 4.5 avg, 9 TDs; 56 catches, 424 yards, 7.6 avg, 2 TDs
Tevin Coleman: 116 attempts, 531 yards, 4.6 avg, 5 TDs; 38 catches, 354 yards, 9.3 avg, 3 TDs
Terron Ward: 21 attempts, 88 yards, 4.2 avg, 0 TDs; 1 catch, 3 yards
Brian Hill: 8 attempts, 34 yards, 4.3 avg, 0 TDs
Derrick Coleman: 2 attempts, 5 yards, 2.5 avg, 0 TDs; 7 catches, 46 yards, 6.6 avg, 1 TD
Julio Jones: 95 catches, 1364 yards, 14.4 avg, 9 TDs
Mohamed Sanu: 64 catches, 760 yards, 11.9 avg, 5 TDs
Taylor Gabriel: 41 catches, 611 yards, 14.9 avg, 3 TDs
Austin Hooper: 51 catches, 564 yards, 11.1 avg, 4 TDs
Justin Hardy: 21 catches, 219 yards, 10.4 avg, 1 TD
Andre Roberts: 13 catches, 158 yards, 12.2 avg, 1 TD
Levine Toilolo: 7 catches, 50 yards, 7.1 avg, 0 TDs
Nick Williams: 1 catch, 9 yards
Eric Saubert: 1 catch, 6 yards
Matt Bryant: 30 for 35 FG, 40 for 41 PAT, 130 points
Matt Bosher: 63 punts, 46.1 avg, 40.1 net avg
Andre Roberts: 24 KO returns, 571 yards, 23.8 avg, 0 TDs; 23 punt returns, 202 yards, 8.8 avg, 0 TDs
Taylor Gabriel: 3 KO returns, 69 yards, 23.0 avg, 0 TDs
Deion Jones: 118 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 INTs, 2 FF
Keanu Neal: 103 tackles, 1 INT, 4 FF
Ricardo Allen: 96 tackles, 2 INT
De’Vondre Campbell: 74 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
Robert Alford: 56 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 FF
Desmond Trufant: 52 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 FF
Grady Jarrett: 49 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 1 FF
Duke Riley: 48 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 INT, 1 FF
Brian Poole: 44 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 INTs, 2 FF
Vic Beasley: 42 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 FF
Courtney Upshaw: 29 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 FF
Kemal Ishmael: 26 tackles, 1 FF
Adrian Clayborn: 25 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 1 FF
Dontari Poe: 24 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 INT
Jack Crawford: 24 tackles, 3.5 sacks
Sharrod Neasman: 23 tackles
Brooks Reed: 22 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Takk McKinley: 22 tackles, 6.0 sacks
Derrick Shelby: 13 tackles, 0.5 sacks
C.J. Goodwin: 8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF
Damontae Kazee: 7 tackles
Deji Olatoye: 5 tackles
Jermaine Grace: 2 tackles