5 Atlanta Falcons pivotal to ending seven-year playoff drought

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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2. Kirk Cousins

If the veteran quarterback isn't ready for week one there is a major cause for concern. If the Falcons can survive the first five weeks of the season this is a playoff team. That means finding a way to win at least two of their first four games.

While this might seem a low bar, consider the team's opening five weeks Steelers, Eagles, Chiefs, Saints, and Bucs. That is an incredibly tough slate if Taylor Heinicke or Michael Penix Jr. are thrust into the lineup, Atlanta could find themselves in a hole they are unable to dig themselves out of.

Atlanta needs Kirk Cousins to be healthy in week one and playing at the expected level. Anything less may put the team's season in question before it has truly begun.

Apart from needing a healthy Cousins to survive the early stretch, Atlanta needs Cousins to be the quarterback he has been in Minnesota for the past two seasons. Production less than this invites quarterback debates and will hamper an offense that will need to carry this team. If Atlanta is going to return to the playoffs Cousins is arguably the most important Falcon in determining this. Atlanta needs Cousins to be in full form from the first snap.