Hyderabad, India (PressExposure) August 05, 2011 -- 2011 Atlanta Falcons Free NFL Picks Preview: Atlanta Falcons (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS, 1st Place in NFC South)
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons were able to get into the postseason as the top seed in the playoffs. Though they squandered their chance by losing in their first playoff game, the Falcons definitely proclaimed that they are here for the foreseeable future.
It's amazing to think that Atlanta ended up ranked No. 16 in offense and defense at 341.1 yards per game and 332.4 yards per game respectively. Of course, it was fifth in both points for (25.9 PPG) and points against (18.0 PPG). Head Coach Mike Smith has clearly done a fantastic job with this team.
QB Matt Ryan led a great offense last year, and he is clearly working his way up the ranks of the best quarterbacks in the league. He threw for 3,705 yards and 28 TDs against just nine picks. Of course, he had some major help in the form of WR Roddy White, who was once again one of the best in the league, and now, he also has a rookie with a ton of potential in WR Julio Jones.
RB Michael Turner rushed for 1,371 yards and 12 TDs a season ago, and he, RB Jerious Norwood, and RB Jason Snelling are all fantastic backs that have the ability to have big games, though both are still unsigned at this point.
The defense was really helped last year with the addition of DB Dunta Robinson, and as a result, there really weren't a lot of changes in the offseason. The big loss was that of DE Jamaal Anderson, who was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts via free agency.
Playing well at home is the key once again. That playoff loss was as bad as it got for Atlanta at the Georgia Dome, as it dominated every other opponent in every other meaningful game there on the season. The lone loss in the regular season was a 17-14 defeat to the New Orleans Saints when the NFC South was already essentially wrapped up.
This year, the home slate is awfully tough, with visits from the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings in addition to the NFC South and two teams from the AFC South.
Don't be surprised if Atlanta has yet another fantastic season behind its offense that is starting to resemble that of a video game. The only hiccup could be the defense.
2011 Atlanta Falcons Predictions: 12-4, 1st Place NFC South
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