(Image credit: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
With the Atlanta Falcons losing to the Buffalo Bills they have officially been eliminated from making the playoffs this season. Honestly, the Atlanta Falcons have had a better season than I thought they would earlier in the season. I thought the Falcons were going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL and were going to tank the entire season. Especially with the bad contracts the Falcons have, I thought they were going to have a contract suffering year. A contract suffering year is when a team has a ton of awful contracts and they wait a year until they can economically get out of those contracts and start investing in building the team. The Falcons do still have problems and there are still many reasons why the Atlanta Falcons did not make the playoffs for this season. In this article, I will go through three reasons why the Atlanta Falcons did not make the playoffs.
1. Too Inconsistent
A big concern I have with the Atlanta Falcons is that they have been very inconsistent with the way they have played this season. There are games where they compete hard and win close games as they did against the New York Jets, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Detroit Lions. But then there are games where they just give up and look uncompetitive like they did against the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice. I don’t think it has to do with coaching as Arthur Smith has been a solid coach this season and I do not think that he is a big issue. Maybe he needs to do a better job in motivation but it seems that the team just is inconsistent this season. The Falcons offense showed this, especially QB Matt Ryan. The Falcons need to play with more consistency and If they do then the Falcons could be a team to be reckoned with.
2. Still a team Rebuilding
This season shows that they are on the right track, however, the Falcons are still rebuilding. Their offense was a lot better than I thought. Kyle Pitts has been excellent having a 1,000 yard receiving season. WR Russell Gage had flashes but he is not a number one receiver on a team. Gage is more of a number 2 or 3 receiver. WR Calvin Ridley stepped away from football to focus on his mental health. I hope everything is going well with him and if he returns to the football field the Falcons offense will get a big boost with his skills. The o-line is a mess and definitely needs to be rebuilt. The Defense was a big issue for the Falcons (We Will get to them later in this article). The point is they don’t have a ton of talent on their team and have another year or two until they can push for the playoffs. Overall well done with the rebuild but getting more talent will help the Falcons. The Future looks bright for the Atlanta Falcons and hopefully, they make the right moves during the end of the offseason.
3. Defensive Struggles
Despite the impressive season, the defense is still an absolute mess. The only players that have been good on the Falcons defense are CB AJ Terell and LB Deion Jones. Especially with how bad the Pass rushing is. Dante Fowler who was not that good this season had 4.5 sacks but only 17 tackles. He was the leading pass rusher and no matter what for a defense to be successful you have to provide pressure to the opposing quarterback. The Falcons struggled to even do that and it put them at a big disadvantage. The run defense was okay but the Falcons clearly need more manpower and depth. The Falcons secondary was abysmal the entire season excluding CB AJ Terell who has again been the best player on this defense. But the Falcons secondary was awful. In the next offseason, the Atlanta Falcons need to improve and build the defense for their playoff push.