Today’s post discusses what the Atlanta Falcons must do to become a relevant NFL futures bet. With that said, we’re not talking about the rebuilding process or anything similar regarding the Falcons. Instead, we will discuss how the Falcons can return to relevance in 2021.
And with that return to relevance, we’ll go over what must they do to become a solid bet for the NFC South, the playoffs, representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, and even winning their first Super Bowl. We won’t predict the odds or anything like that, just ways the Atlanta Falcons can get better overall.
Ready for the rundown?
Let’s get started.
Keep the Core
It’s so easy to abandon ship here and get rid of players like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan to bring about a full rebuild and gain younger talent.
Ryan isn’t the best quarterback in the league, but he’s been in the upper echelon since his rookie season. The guy has done nothing but put up good to sometimes great numbers, and it’s rarely been on him as a quarterback regarding the Falcons’ struggles.
The same goes for Julio Jones. And even if the age factor hits Jones, and he drops to the second or even the third option in time, the Atlanta Falcons already have a viable replacement on the roster in Calvin Ridley. Keep Jones, keep running back Todd Gurley, and keep the core.
Hire a Proven Coach
Guys like Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis are out there, and you can make a surefire bet that at least one of them can return to a head coaching position in 2021.
And while Lewis has yet to win a playoff game during his storied coaching career, Caldwell has Super Bowl experience.
Sure, teams have fired him twice as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, but let’s break it down.
Caldwell went 2-14 in 2011 when he had to turn to the irrelevant Curtis Painter and aging Kerry Collins to substitute for an injured Peyton Manning. And after back-to-back winning seasons with the Lions, something of a rarity in Detroit these days, ownership went in another direction.
Caldwell would be a great bet given his experience and his ability to win games when his best player isn’t down for the season. And if Caldwell can win with Detroit, who can’t he win with?
Lewis is another option that jumps out, given his hand in returning the Cincinnati Bengals to relevance during the 2000s and 2010s. Sure, his 0-7 playoff record hurts. But he’s got a knack for making the playoffs.
What the Falcons don’t need to do is turn to a rookie head coach or a hot coaching commodity. There have been rumors about Urban Meyer linked to NFL teams. Meyer, a veteran college coach and arguably the most successful in NCAA history, has never coached an NFL team.
Hot coaching commodities like San Francisco’s Robert Saleh and Buffalo’s Brian Daboll will also look to hear their names called. If the Falcons were to become a decent NFL team to bet on, they need to hire a veteran coach and not a coordinator or someone from the college ranks.
Fix the Defense
For the love of goodness, fix the defense already. Over the past few seasons, the defense has remained a thorn in this team’s side and while they’ve had some successful draft picks and signings, the unit still allows 24.6 points per game as of Week 16 2020.
Something has to give on this defense if the team were to return to relevance and if they want to hang with New Orleans or Tampa Bay. They’re two teams who will probably still have enough talent to contend for an NFC South Title if Drew Brees and Tom Brady hang it up.
Then, there’s Carolina, who will find themselves in Year 2 of their rebuild. The Panthers, like the Bucs and Saints, can get hot on offense.
Therefore, to gain the advantage over their rivals, the Falcons must fix what has remained an awful defense, and it’s now approaching the half-decade mark.
Stop Blowing Big Leads
Has anyone blown more leads than the 2020 Atlanta Falcons?
Perhaps the Los Angeles Chargers, but the Falcons, who at the time of this writing share the worst record in the NFC at 4-11, must find a way to hold a big lead.
Some say this habit began back in 2016 in Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots when they lost the game 34-28 after blowing a 28-3 lead. Okay, but let’s keep the past in the past and focus on recent history.
The Falcons blew a 29-10 lead in Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys. Leading 39-37 late in the fourth quarter, just about the entire hands team forgot the NFL rulebook and gave up what should have been an easy onside kick recovery back to the Cowboys, who kicked the game-winning field goal.
For an encore presentation, the Falcons led 26-10 in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears. The final score? 30-26 Chicago, and yet another blown lead in the fourth quarter from the Falcons.
Come Week 15, the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead at halftime to the Buccaneers, who outscored the Falcons 31-10 in the final two quarters to win.
Instead of sitting at 7-8 if they just figured out how to hold a lead, the Falcons are instead sitting at 4-11. And as you can see, the over/under comes into play here, and you can also bet the same is the case for next season.
Regardless of who the Falcons hire as a head coach in 2021, they need to improve the defense, which should keep the team from blowing such large leads.
Hire a Competent General Manager
Lucky for the Falcons, there are plenty of accomplished general managers and NFL executives on the market. After letting go of Thomas Dimitroff, who had been with the team for over a decade, the Falcons picked the right season to go general manager hunting.
Names like Scott Pioli, Rick Smith, David Caldwell, and Bob Quinn are just a few of many accomplished or experienced general managers who the Falcons can benefit from.
While none of the above (minus Pioli) have played an instrumental part in leading their team to the Lombardi Trophy, each have tasted the playoffs and have been integral in turning their former teams around.
As with the head coach, the Falcons can’t afford to take a chance on the rookie if they’re to be a safe futures bet for the 2021 NFL Season. If the Falcons hire a rookie head coach and general manager, steer clear, because a full rebuild is coming.
Sure, they can come out of nowhere and be the next big things in Atlanta. But it’s a safer bet that they won’t. So, don’t even try it unless you love to bet on the edge. Maybe it’s considerable if they received a generous over/under, but that’s about it.
Take Advantage of the Easy Schedule
Okay, so there’s a good chance we will see a 17th NFL regular season game starting in 2021 and 2022 at the latest unless something changes. Since the Falcons will probably finish in the NFC South’s basement, they will play all three teams that finished in the same position in the NFC.
If the 17th game becomes a thing, then they’ll play an additional AFC team that also finished in the same spot. If it’s the AFC South, for example, they will play the Jacksonville Jaguars. If it’s the AFC North, they’ll play the Cincinnati Bengals, the AFC East, New York Jets, etc.
The Falcons are one of those bad football teams that ironically have a lot of talent. So, while their opponents will still say, “We got Atlanta,” the Falcons should be confident enough to realize that at least on offense, they’re the better football team.
And if they fix the defense, they need to take advantage of the easy schedule coming their way in 2021 that involves those final two to three games on the schedule. If they do so, it should be three wins, giving them a tremendous advantage over the rest of their division who will play the tougher schedule.
The Saints will play the teams who finished first, the Bucs will play those who finished second, and if all things remain as is, the Panthers will play the teams who finished third.
That leaves the Falcons to play the bottom-dwellers.
The Atlanta Falcons need to realize that this team has a decent offense that can score on anyone, evidenced with their 24.6 points per game on offense. But they’re also allowing 24.6 points per game on defense, and that is their troubled area.
To become a viable futures-based bet, the Falcons must hit a home run with an experienced head coach and general manager and not take a chance on newbies. They should also find a competent defensive coordinator tasked with fixing one of the NFL’s perpetually worst defenses.
What are your thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons? If they do as outlined above, do they make a good futures-based bet? Or, even in the absence of Brady and Brees, are the Bucs and Saints still safer bets in 2021?
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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