If you're looking objectively considering the schedule, developing players, division, and off-season additions the Atlanta Falcons are an obvious team that should be expected to take a huge jump. Even if Desmond Ridder is an average starter the Falcons are going to be in the playoff hunt and should win their division if the defense takes the expected jump.
This is a narrative that hasn't been talked about enough this off-season. This is due to a portion of sports media preferring to focus on Atlanta's failure to add subpar veteran quarterbacks or chase Lamar Jackson.
When looking at the NFC and the off-season as a whole it would be a failure if the Falcons don't win double-digit games this season. You're in a division with two teams clearly in need of a rebuild in the Saints and Bucs. Carolina has clear depth issues in the secondary and is starting a rookie quarterback after making an ill-advised head coaching change.
Add in a last-place schedule and there isn't going to be a better setup for Atlanta. Not only did the team heavily invest in the defense line and pass rush but they bolstered their defensive coaching staff adding Ryan Nielsen and Jerry Gray.
Drafting a left guard and Bijan Robinson solidified what should be a top-ten offense and it is hard to see why Atlanta isn't the trendy off-season pick to take a leap forward. The obvious answer is the lack of a proven star quarterback and while this is understandable it misses what Atlanta has built.
This is a team that won five games with Marcus Mariota as their starter and drastically improved their roster while the degree of difficulty has been lessened. Atlanta doesn't need a star quarterback this season to win double-digit games but simply a capable one.
Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, and Cordarrelle Patterson will demand the opposing defenses' full attention opening up consistent big play opportunities for Drake London and Kyle Pitts. This is the most complete and dangerous team that the Falcons have built in quite some time ignore them at your own risk but come playoff time there will be a round-one game in Atlanta.