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

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DeMeco Ryans
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2. A far easier schedule

Let's ignore the quarterback position for the sake of this argument and consider Atlanta's chances if Marcus Mariota was still the quarterback. A team that won seven games with a combination of Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder has been massively upgraded.

This year's schedule is as follows: Tampa Bay Bucs (without Tom Brady), New Orleans, Carolina, Vikings, Packers, Colts, Texans, Commanders, Cardinals, Jaguars, Titans, Lions, Bears, and the Jets.

The Falcons play the worst teams in the league consistently with the Vikings, Lions, and Jaguars as the only clear opponents who have playoff expectations. The Jets could be added to that list as well if they land Aaron Rodgers.

The point remains, however, that Atlanta's path to the playoffs is extremely easy when it comes to their schedule. Even last year's team should have found a way to win 9-10 games and make the playoffs if they had this schedule.

Atlanta's improved roster will carry the team to 8-10 wins even if Ridder isn't the answer and the Falcons are forced to turn to Taylor Heinicke. Atlanta knows the clearest path to contending is building a complete roster not searching pointlessly for the next Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes. It is the right way to build with Atlanta's talent it will pay off against inferior competition this season.