After blowing the infamous 28-3 lead over the Patriots in the 2016 Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons posted a respected 10-6 record in 2017. However, it has been downhill ever since as the Falcons have gone 7-9 for two consecutive years. Granted, Atlanta deserves some credit in 2019. The Falcons started off a putrid 1-7 and battled back to go 6-2 over their final eight games, including four straight wins to end the season.
Atlanta's two big moves this offseason were signing a pair of former Rams: Running back Todd Gurley and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. The Falcons also lost tight end Austin Hooper to the Browns in free agency and traded for Hayden Hurst of the Ravens to be his replacement.
The Falcons focused on defense in the draft, selecting Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell in the first round at No. 16 overall, which was widely considered a reach. Atlanta added Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson in the second round.
After a pair of 7-9 seasons, oddsmakers expect more of the same from Atlanta this year. The Falcons' 2020 win total is 7.5 across the board with heavy under juice. DraftKings is hanging under 7.5 at -130 (over + 107). FanDuel is more of the same, offering under 7.5 at -120 (over + 100). If you like the under, PointsBet and CircaSports are both at 7.5 with even -110 juice on both sides.
Reading between the lines, smart money and house liability is on another 7-9 season for the Falcons in 2020.
One reason to lean on the Falcons' under win total this season: Their difficult schedule. Atlanta's 2020 opponents went a combined 134-121-1 (.525) in 2019, giving the Falcons the 5th-hardest schedule in the NFL. Plus, Atlanta will now be forced to face Tom Brady and the Bucs twice this year.
Here is the Falcons' full 2020 schedule
Week 1: vs Seahawks
Week 2: at Cowboys
Week 3: vs Bears
Week 4: at Packers
Week 5: vs Panthers
Week 6: at Vikings
Week 7: vs Lions
Week 8: at Panthers
Week 9: vs Broncos
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: at Saints
Week 12: vs Raiders
Week 13: vs Saints
Week 14: at Chargers
Week 15: vs Bucs
Week 16: at Chiefs
Week 17: at Bucs
Oddsmakers don't expect the Falcons to make the postseason this year. Atlanta is a -286 favorite to miss the playoffs at DraftKings and a + 225 underdog to make the playoffs.
Atlanta is a + 900 longshot to win the NFC South. The Saints are the favorite at -134, followed by the Bucs + 120. The Panthers have the worst odds to win the division at + 2000.
The Falcons are + 2200 to win the NFC and + 4000 to win the Super Bowl.
In terms of players props, Matt Ryan's over/under passing yards is set at 4,500.5 and his over/under passing touchdowns is 27.5. Last year Ryan threw for 4,466 yards and 26 touchdowns. Ryan is + 5000 to win MVP.
Julio Jones' over/under receiving yards is 1,300.5. Jones finished with 1,394 receiving yards in 2019.