Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were a feared team in the NFC at one point in recent history. It has been a couple of years since they were truly considered a serious contender. They are hoping to get back to that point in the 2016 NFL season, but they have a lot to prove before they are viewed that way.
Looking ahead at the upcoming season, there are plenty of reasons for Falcons' fans to be excited. Even though Ryan has not been able to show his ability to be a franchise quarterback over the past couple of seasons, there is still hope for him to turn his career back around.
Atlanta has to be happy to see the Carolina Panthers take a step back with Josh Norman leaving in free agency to join the Washington Redskins. Tampa Bay has gotten a lot better this offseason and the New Orleans Saints could be an interesting threat as well. Despite those two teams improving a bit, the Falcons should still end up being one of the top two teams in the division.
There is no question that the Falcons have a lot of pessimism surrounding their franchise, but this could be the year that they finally shake it off.
All of that being said, what five bold predictions can be made for the Atlanta Falcons heading into the 2016 NFL season?
Matt Ryan Breaks Out Into Franchise QB Form
It has been awhile since Matt Ryan looked like the franchise leader that the Falcons drafted him to be. He has shown flashes of being that quarterback throughout his career, but consistency has been an issue. This season will be a big step in the right direction for him and he will put up big numbers for Atlanta.
Julio Jones Will Break 2,000 Receiving Yards and 15 Touchdowns
Last season with the Falcons, Julio Jones ended up catching 136 passes for 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers will be surpassed this season and he will rack up over 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Jones is without question the NFL's best all-around wide receiver and he will show that once again in 2016.
Dan Quinn's Defense Is Top-Five in Forced Turnovers
There is no question that Dan Quinn has been improving the Falcons' defense over the past year. He has been a defensive coach throughout his entire career and it will pay off this season. Atlanta will be among the top five teams in forced turnovers throughout the course of the upcoming season.
Atlanta Knocks Off the Carolina Panthers Twice to Sweep the Season Series
After seeing the Carolina Panthers run through the NFC South last season, the Falcons will want to get revenge for it. They will knock the Panthers off both times they face them to sweep the season series. It won't be easy, but the Falcons have the high-powered offense and their defense will make the necessary improvements.
The Atlanta Falcons Will Win the NFC South Division
Keeping along with the winning theme of the last bold prediction, the Atlanta Falcons will find a way to win the NFC South division. Not many media members will give them the nod ahead of the Carolina Panthers, but there are reasons to believe that the Falcons can make some noise this season. Atlanta will fair well against the rest of their division and will surprise the media.
Do you think that the Atlanta Falcons have what it takes to pull off an NFC South division win? Will they be a serious contender in the NFC this season? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Mark Zaleski]