I’ll go ahead and predict a sixth consecutive winning season for the Atlanta Falcons. But I don’t think their record will be quite as good as it was last season, when the Falcons went 13-3.
With the New Orleans Saints a year removed from the bounty scandal, I don't think the Falcons will run away with the division the way they did last year. The Saints, Buccaneers and Panthers will all be competitive, and Atlanta's schedule is not at all easy.
I say the Falcons go 11-5. I also say they’ll become the first team in history to win the NFC South in back-to-back seasons.
More importantly, I’ll say the Falcons (particularly coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan) are going to finally put an end to the talk about how they can’t win the big one.
The Falcons are loaded at the skill positions, their defense should be improved, and this is a hungry team. That’s why I’m saying the Falcons will make it to the Super Bowl, where they'll defeat Denver Broncos.
Predicted finish in NFC South: first