atlfan

Last season: 13-3, NFC South champs, lost in NFC Championship Game

Acquisitions: Steven Jackson, Osi Umenyiora, Desmond Trufant, Brian Banks

Departures: Michael Turner, John Abraham, Dunta Robinson, Tyson Clabo

Vegas 2013 win total over/under: 10 wins

Verdict: PUSH

atlstadium

Five incredible planned features for the Falcons as-yet-unbuilt new stadium:

- Sphincter dome

- 100-yard bar

- Rumble pak seats

- Animatronic gospel choir

- Staging area for construction of Tom Dimitroff’s Elysium

Fan forecast, by SB Nation’s Jason Kirk:

After five years of franchise-altering success, the Falcons are going all in, and I’m pretty scared about that.

The Mike Smith/Thomas Dimitroff administration, by a laughably far distance the greatest regime in team history, has to this point been distinguished by winning a bunch of games, losing some playoff games, pulling every win out of one ass or another, never committing penalties, and trading all of Paulding County for Julio Jones. It’s been a steady build, totally out of character with the team’s traditional eight-years-of-squalor, one-year-of-fluky-wins pattern. For 58 minutes a week, it’s the most boring thing you’ll ever see, and it’s the best thing we’ve ever had.

When does luck run out? Can a team built on star players, not on depth, survive 19 or 20 games? If football were about nothing but 22 players, I’d take the Falcons against anybody. But if Matt Ryan or Julio goes down, show’s over. The expensive Tony Gonzalez came back for nothing, those big Draft trades should’ve been about adding more bodies, the Falcons weren’t really five yards short of the Super Bowl, and burn down the Stankonia Dome before it even gets built.

The good news is, this is July, so I can pretend that’s not going to happen. And if nobody gets hurt, the Falcons will be better at most position groups, with old man Steven Jackson somehow looking a couple decades younger than Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson not fucking everything up any more, and a surge of young pass rushers hopefully breaking through Smith’s apparent hesitance to play young players.

Replacing arguably our (I can go “our” when talking about the Falcons, since I don’t cover the team) two best offensive linemen is scary, as is a defensive back seven that would be better off whistling at ball-carriers than trying to tackle them. But Dirk Koetter’s offense will score points — if it can finally accept its strength is throwing the ball every goddamn snap — and it’s better to be great at one thing than okay a bunch of stuff.

This team was by no means five yards shy of being one of the two best teams in the NFL last year, but while watching the Super Bowl, I couldn’t help thinking that the Falcons could’ve beaten either the 49ers or Ravens. Also that Falcons fans in the Superdome could’ve sang that Future song about lights being turned out while the lights were turned out. That’s the kind of thing we do when we’re scared.