Is it Super Bowl or bust for Atlanta?
Passing: Matt Ryan had his best season of his career in 2012. He set career highs in completions (422), attempts (615), completion percentage (68.6), passing yards (4,719), touchdowns (32), QBR (99.1), and game winning drives (7). Will he be able to match, or break, those numbers this upcoming season? With another year under the belt for him and his outstanding receivers, anything is possible.
Receiving: Julio Jones had a fantastic second season in 2012. He finished the season with 1198 yards on 79 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Roddy White was second on the team with 92 receptions. First on the team with 1351 yards, and he was third to Julio (10) and Tony Gonzalez (8) in touchdowns with 7. Gonzalez led the team with 93 receptions. He gathered 930 yards and 8 touchdowns along the way. How will things turn out this year? With Julio Jones' stock rising will he become the new number one receiver? Will Tony Gonzalez have another career year, in his last year in the NFL?
Rushing: Michael Turner rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season with the Falcons. With Jacquizz Rodgers taking almost 100 handoffs last season and showing signs of starting potential, the Falcons decided to part ways with Turner in the offseason, clearing up major cap-space. With that space, they signed Steven Jackson, former St. Louis Ram. Jackson has had 8 consecutive 1000-yard seasons, was he the missing piece in the Falcons puzzle to a Super Bowl? Jackson played in a dome all his life so it is not much of a transition, and with a solid backup in Rodgers, Atlanta's running game looks the best it has in years.
Defense: Atlanta's defense has never been stellar, when they released John Abraham and with Brent Grimes, Chris Owens, and Dunta Robinson not returning, things didn't look like they were getting better. Then they acquired Osi Umenyiora from free agency and Desmond Trufant from the draft, things started to look up. With Umenyiora you get a solid pass rusher and run stopper, and with Trufant you get a young talent, to replace Grimes (who was injury proned these past few seasons). Will this Atlanta Falcons defense be able to do better than last season? If so, this Falcons team will be a force in the NFC once again.
With a season like last year, and Gonzalez coming back for one final season (to hopefully win a Super Bowl) this has to be the year the Falcons finally win the Super Bowl. They have the best receiving duo in the league, one of the best quarterbacks, a solid running game, a top 3 tight end, and a pretty solid defense. If Atlanta can work like last year then I see nothing but a bright future for them.