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6 Teams That Could Ruin Your 2015 Predictions


Atlien 404
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Just having Matt Ryan gives the Falcons substantially better odds at a big bounce-back next year, but there's also a defense that gave up more than 26 points per game last season. Atlanta got a huge shakeup over the offseason -- a whole new coaching staff and a bevy of personnel moves -- but the main focus was on the defensive side of the football. For good reason. While Atlanta finished with the 10th ranked offense in the NFL last year per Football Outsiders DVOA metric (respectable), they were dead last in defense. That's where Dan Quinn comes in.


It's obviously too early to tell if Quinn and his Seattle-styled system can tun things around for the Falcons, but he's made some moves in free agency to add some tools that can run what he did with the Seahawks last year. Adrian Clayborn can play the strongside end and will get some looks on the inside in nickel, and Brooks Reed will play outside linebacker in base sets and rush the passer on third downs. Justin Durant is likely starter at the weak side in year one, O'Brien Schofield will be a sub-package rusher and Phillip Adams adds depth at corner. That's a start.


Adding weak side pass rusher Vic Beasley (first round), cornerback Jalen Collins (second) and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (fifth) means the Falcons could potentially see three rookies become first-year impact players. Beasley will likely get a ton of pass rushing snaps. We may see Collins start opposite Desmond Trufant and Jarrett will get snaps in the Atlanta defensive line rotation. Will these additions be enough? Another factor will be how much Quinn can get out of second year pro Ra'shede Hageman, last year's second-rounder that he inherits from the previous regime.


They have a long way to go on defense, but with Quinn calling the shots it wouldn't surprise me to see some immediate dividends from their investments. In the relatively weak NFC South, Atlanta could make a run for the division title. Let's even assume the division produces a winning record this next year.


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