NFC South Power Rankings: Preseason Week 2 standings

4 of 5

Aug 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley (44) rushes Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

2. Atlanta Falcons

It’s been an offseason of change for the Atlanta Falcons. First up, it was the addition of a new coaching staff led by Dan Quinn. Quinn vowed to bring ‘fast and physical’ football to Atlanta, and so far he’s backed up his word.

A strong free agency period was followed up by what appears to be an excellent draft, adding plenty of talent while also addressing the roster’s most pressing needs.

Top of that list was fixing the pass rush. The entire Falcons’ defense mustered just 22 sacks last term, the same amount as Justin Houston put up on his own in Kansas City.

Brooks Reed, Justin Durant and Adrian Clayborn were acquired in free agency, and Vic Beasley was selected eighth overall in the draft. Beasley is the key piece here, and much of the Falcons’ success will hinge on his ability to disrupt the quarterback.

Offensively, Atlanta can compete with just about anyone in the NFL. Led by Matt Ryan, the Falcons boast a strong wide receiver corps with Julio Jones, Roddy White, Leonard Hankerson and Justin Hardy. Veteran Devin Hester can also contribute.

The run game will also go a long way to determining the 2015 Atlanta Falcons’ fate. If Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman light it up, there is no end to the offenses’ potential. If they struggle, it will hurt the Falcons in a big way.

They need to prove they belong on top of this list by continuing their development into the regular season. For now, it’s No. 2.

Next: No. 1