Will the Atlanta Falcons deliver on heightened 2024 expectations?

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Heading into the 2024 Atlanta Falcons season there is a lot of reason for excitement. This team is built to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. That is the baseline of expectations for the Falcons this season. It is more than fair in a far easier conference in arguably the worst division in the league.

The preseason is yet to begin and already almost universally the Saints and Panthers are being considered as top-ten draft picks in 2025. Neither team is going to be a threat in the NFC playoff picture. Leaving the Falcons and Bucs as the clear division contenders.

The Atlanta Falcons are playoff contenders, however, there are clear limitations

Returning to the playoffs is enough of a step forward to be excited about in Atlanta. Raheem Morris making the playoffs in year one with Kirk Cousins in his first season as well is an accomplishment. This is Atlanta's ceiling or perhaps winning a round one game based on the matchup.

Atlanta is a playoff contender who isn't a true Super Bowl threat. Barring blockbuster trades or Ebiketie or Trice becoming star pass rushers Atlanta's limitations are clear. This is the biggest frustration with how Atlanta has managed this offseason. There is reason for excitement and Atlanta has refused to take the extra steps to give them a chance to be a real NFC threat.

This isn't to say with Atlanta's offensive talent the 2024 season won't be fun or they couldn't defy the odds and win more than a round. Rather to point out that with secondary questions and zero proven pass rush, there is a ceiling for this team.

One that arguably isn't there if Atlanta drafts a pass rusher 8th overall and pays a little more attention to the secondary in free agency. There is a reason for excitement in Atlanta the division is perfectly set up in their favor.

Whether or not the Falcons can deliver on expectations all depends on your definition. If that means making the playoffs Atlanta is going to more than deliver. If, however, you're expecting a real NFC contender expectations will be disappointed with Atlanta's handling of the secondary and pass rush resulting in their demise in January.