The Atlanta Falcons enter the 2020 NFL season with grand designs of toppling the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South crown. Does Matt Ryan have enough weapons to get it done?
The New Orleans Saints are entering the season as the prohibitive favorites in the NFC South, but the Atlanta Falcons fancy their chances of making a playoff run as well. To do that, Dan Quinn will finally need to live up to his reputation as a defensive-minded head coach.
The Falcons finished 23rd in the NFL last season in points allowed per game. Even with a top 10 offense that doesn’t form a recipe for a dangerous playoff team. Atlanta needs more from their defensive personnel.
The franchise elected to let Vic Beasley leave in free agency but replaced him with an upgrade in the form of Dante Fowler, Jr. Interestingly, that could be the only change in the defensive starting lineup. The Falcons are clearly counting on their returners to play better in 2020.
The team did make some offseason moves to spice up the offense. Todd Gurley is the big-name acquisition, but no one really knows how much gas he has left in the tank. Hayden Hurst will be the new starter at tight end, but he’ll struggle to replace everything Austin Hooper gave the offense a year ago. Bearing all that in mind, here are five bold predictions for the upcoming season.
5. Matt Hennessy will beat out Alex Mack
The Falcons didn’t spend a third-round draft choice on Hennessy for him to spend the entire 2020 season on the bench. They expect him to take over for 33-year-old Alex Mack much sooner than 2021.
Look for Hennessy to get his chance sometime during the second half of the season. It could happen if Atlanta falls out of playoff contention or if Mack starts to see his performance dip in the slightest. It may seem like a subtle shift to outsiders, but it will be a big deal inside the Falcons organization.