Falcons a Super Bowl contender?
The Atlanta Falcons famously blew a 28-3 second half lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI two seasons ago. After qualifying for the postseason again last year, does Atlanta still have what it takes to be in the mix for a Super Bowl title in 2019?
According to oddsmakers, the Falcons have 30/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The odds opened at 20/1 before dropping. Nine teams have better odds to win the Super Bowl, led by the Patriots with 6/1 odds. The defending champion Eagles have 8/1 odds, while the Steelers and Rams are at 10/1. A full list of Super Bowl and conference champion odds can be found at our NFL Future Odds Page.
Timetable not long with current core
Atlanta superstar wide receiver Julio Jones is entering his age 29 season and has been banged up considerably over the course of his career, due both to the violent nature of the game in addition to his 6-foot-3 and 220-pound frame which leaves him a big target for defensive backs. After a combined 240 catches in 2014 and 2015, he totaled 83 catches two years ago when he missed two regular season games and then 88 receptions last year while playing in all 16 games. Although his longest catch of 53 yards was down considerably from his long in previous years, he still totaled 1,444 yards for an average of 16.4 per catch. Despite his size, he only totaled three TDs as the Falcons prefer to use him as a decoy in the red zone. Jones is still one of the best receivers in the game, but he isn't getting any younger and the nagging injuries mount up.
In addition to Jones, the Falcons have a strong running back duo in Devonta Freeman (196 rushes, 865 yards, 7 TDs) and Tevin Coleman (156 carries, 628 yards, 5 TDs). But even though Freeman is only 26 years old and Coleman is 25, you never know how long a running back will be effective in the NFL due to it having the shortest shelf life of any position. The split carries help with preservation, but each missed time with an injury last year and it's impossible to predict running back health.
After a career-best season in leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl the year before, quarterback Matt Ryan dropped back down closer to his career numbers in 2017. He finished the season 342-of-529 passing for 4,029 yards and 20 touchdowns plus 12 interceptions. In two playoff games, he was a combined 43-of-66 for 418 yards and two TDs with no interceptions.
Falcons one play away
Atlanta dominated the host Rams in the NFC Wild Card round as it rolled to a 26-13 win, the cold weather in Philadelphia led the Falcons to struggling offensively in a 15-10 defeat in the Divisional Round. Considering the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl, the argument could be made that the Falcons were one big play away from perhaps being in the same situation. It's all hypotheticals, but with a defense that played great in the playoffs and an offense that has plenty of playmakers, Atlanta is still one of the better teams in the NFC and a contender to play in the Super Bowl this winter.
I'm not sure I would bet on Atlanta to win the Super Bowl unless you are a fan of the Falcons and are looking for a fun bet to watch the entire season. But a better bet could be on Atlanta winning the NFC, where you get odds of 13/1. Of course, if you think the Falcons are good enough to win the NFC, perhaps just go all the way and make that Super Bowl bet.