The Atlanta Falcons as a whole must play better this season than they did last season in order for them to avoid a third straight losing season.
Yes, the Atlanta Falcons offensive line needs to block better and the pass defense needs to build off where they ended 2019 but most importantly the Falcons run defense will need to show up every game.
The Atlanta Falcons have the fifth toughest schedule in the league which is not something fans like to hear. If the rush defense for the Falcons shows up, life will be a lot easier for the Dirty Birds.
Last season, the Falcons ranked right in the middle of the pack in terms of rushing yards allowed per game at 110.9 and 14th in rushing touchdowns allowed with 13. While those are solid numbers, they didn’t face the elite running back and offense they will have to line up against last season.
This season, outside of Kamara and McCaffrey, the Falcons have to face off against the likes of Ezekiel Elliot, Josh Jacobs, Aaron Jones, Melvin Gordon as well as dealing with dual-threat quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and the fourth-best rushing attack in the league last year, the Seattle Seahawks.
Let’s not forget, the Falcons will also have to deal with a young stud like D’Andre Swift as well as an Andy Reid coached Kansas City Chiefs with Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones both healthy again and the number of weapons the Falcons will have on offense, teams are going to try their best to keep the offense off the field which is another big reason why the rush defense is more important.
The pass rush and pass defense will need to do their job as well, but stopping the run and putting the opposing team in third and long situations while also making them one dimensional could work wonders for the success of the Falcons.
In four of their seven wins last year, the Falcons limited their opponents to 100 yards or less rushing yards. In six of their nine losses, those teams rushed for over 101 yards or more. This will be a key area to watch in 2020 given the personnel that they will face.