3 Reasons to believe the Atlanta Falcons will play meaningful games in January

NFL Combine
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Carl Granderson, David Onyemata
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1. Ryan Nielsen and huge defensive upgrades

Grady Jarrett made key sacks early in the season that won games both against the Seahawks and Browns and a play that should have counted against Tom Brady and the Bucs. This quickly changed, however, when teams realized they simply needed to assign their best protection against Jarrett and let everyone else handle their matchups living with the results.

For Atlanta, this resulted in rarely getting to the quarterback in the second half of the season and consistently getting bullied on the inside. The Falcons have more than addressed this weakness bringing in Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, and Eddie Goldman to bolster what now looks to be one of the best defensive lines in the NFC.

Add in new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen and coach Jerry Gray and this team's defense is clearly going to take a huge step forward. Jessie Bates, Kaden Elliss, and Mike Hughes and a heavy defensive draft class will be added in as well giving the Falcons the most talented defensive roster they have had in the last half-decade.

It might not be the splashy moves of signing a big-name player or adding a top-ten quarterback. What it is doing is bringing in a clear upgrade over Dean Pees and building a defensive roster that is going to help the Falcons win a lot of football games in the 2023 season.