As we inch closer to the NFL regular season, there will be a lot of “Power Ratings” from the various writers that consider themselves to be “experts”.
The Atlanta Falcons were among the worst teams in the 2020 NFL regular season, but can they turn it around in 2021?
Pro Football Network’s Dalton Miller recently released his first power rankings of the 2021 NFL season and he doesn’t have the Atlanta Falcons as the worst team in the NFL – though he also does not have them among the best either.
Here is what Miller has to say about the Atlanta Falcons in 2021:
"The Falcons are in complete rebuild mode, but their quarterback is still good enough to keep them in and win games. Their front office is entirely new, they traded away a generational wide receiver, and their defensive talent still lacks. However, they drafted a ridiculous talent in Florida’s Kyle Pitts. If Arthur Smith’s time in Tennessee is any indication, this offense will be a well-oiled machine. They have many holes to fill over the next few seasons if they want to compete going forward."
Miller doesn’t even have them in the top half of the league, which means initially, he doesn’t believe they can turn things around after an offseason that saw the franchise change coaches, front office management as well as a slew of roster changes.
Falcons will play some of the worst teams in the 2021 NFL regular season
One reason to believe that the Falcons can make a one-year drastic improvement is their schedule – it is far easier than the schedule they played in 2020. According to Miller’s initial ratings, the Falcons will play five of the six worst teams in the NFL this season – Eagles, Lions, Jets, Jaguars, and Panthers.
The lone team they don’t play is the Houston Texans.
All five of those teams will rely on either young or new quarterbacks in 2021. Eagles are more than likely going to start second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was horrible throwing the ball in 2020, the Lions acquired Jared Goff when they traded Matthew Stafford to the Lions and the Panthers will start former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
Both the Jets and Jaguars will start rookies who were drafted one/two in the 2021 NFL draft – Trevor Lawrence will start in Jacksonville while Zack Wilson will start for New York.
If these teams are indeed five of the six worst teams at the end of the NFL regular season, that will equate to six wins for the Atlanta Falcons in year one of the Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith era.
That would mean the Falcons would need to secure four more wins somewhere during the regular season in order to secure a playoff bid for the first time since 2017.