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Ranking the Falcons’ Best and Worst-Case 2023 NFL Season Scenarios

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The Atlanta Falcons defied expectations in 2022 as they adopted a run-heavy approach that allowed them to grind out a 7-10 record. They think they may have a franchise quarterback in Desmond Ridder.

With that in mind, we’re diving into what the best and worst-case scenarios are for the Falcons in 2023.

Predicting the Best-Case Scenario for the Falcons’ 2023 NFL Season

The Falcons were one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL entering the offseason, as they boasted an impressive young core of playmakers, the most cap space in the league, and the eighth overall pick.

Instead of working to land a star quarterback like Lamar Jackson and building around him, the entire franchise stood behind Ridder. The second-year quarterback played in four games in 2022 after being a third-round pick, which was apparently enough for head coach Arthur Smith to become “comfortable” moving forward with him.

Ridder performed decently in his four starts, completing 63.5% of his attempts for only 6.2 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. With Atlanta leading the NFL in rushing attempts and boasting the fourth-best yards per carry, Ridder’s job was to take care of the ball and move the chains when asked to. He admitted his “head was spinning” as a rookie but believes the unit will be “explosive” in 2023 with a year under his belt.

Atlanta’s win total at DraftKings Sportsbook is 8.5, and they’re -150 to miss the playoffs. It should help that the Falcons have the second-easiest schedule in the league.

MORE: Atlanta Falcons 2023 Season Preview

There’s reason to believe Ridder will be correct if he’s even an average NFL starter. At best, the Falcons are right in their conviction that Ridder can improve his accuracy and take advantage of his strong arm and tall, athletic playmakers. The duo of tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London is drool-worthy, and Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller are undervalued role players at receiver.

The bar is low to see this passing game improve because Marcus Mariota was an abysmal thrower in the 13 games he started in 2022. Pitts all but disappeared by no fault of his own, and Atlanta had only three games with more than 171 passing yards in games Mariota played. Ridder might be good enough to help Atlanta win more contests by simply continuing the pace he established in his last two starts of the season.

There’s also the addition of Bijan Robinson, who was arguably the best player in the entire 2023 NFL Draft class. Robinson said he already trusts Smith to use him “the right way” as he’s putting him at receiver and running back. It might not be likely, but there’s a chance that if Robinson can stay healthy and if Atlanta continues to run the ball so much, Robinson could challenge Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.

Atlanta’s defense has less certainty about what it’ll be. The unit was only able to avoid awful status in 2022 because the offense drained so much clock. They were dead last in the NFL by allowing a whopping 43.5% of drives to finish with a score.

They scurried to add a host of veterans to the unit to help raise their floor. The defensive line will be much tougher with the acquisitions of Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, and Bud Dupree. The secondary added star safety Jessie Bates III, and they’re hoping to find a bargain-bin value out of Jeff Okudah, Mike Hughes, and Tre Flowers.

MORE: Best NFL Offenses | Best NFL Defenses

Bates’ addition will help the secondary justify bringing safety Richie Grant closer to the line of scrimmage without exposing their corners, and getting A.J. Terrell for the whole year will boost the defense even more.

But it’s not a good defense unless the pass rush massively improves. The unit ranked 26th in pass-rush win rate and 29th in run defense. Expect the latter to get significantly better, and the best case for the defense is for someone from their rotation of Lorenzo Carter, Arnold Ebiketie, and DeAngelo Malone to emerge as a very good sack artist.

Atlanta can challenge for the NFC South crown because it’s such a bad division.

Bijan Robinson (7) shown on the field during rookie camp at IBM Performance Field.

Predicting the Worst-Case Scenario for the Falcons’ 2023 NFL Season

For as weak as the NFC South is, it’s also possible this team’s good fortune as a run-heavy, weird matchup team doesn’t lead to as many wins as last year, even if they improved their talent. They won five of their 12 one-score games in 2022 and were outgained in yards in each of those wins. Smith’s former team, the Tennessee Titans, was able to grind out ugly wins like that consistently while he was there, but the margin is tiny with that recipe.

Those Titans teams also boasted an elite defense and a passing game that could take advantage of the play-action looks their dominant running game created. The focus will continue to be on what Ridder can do with Pitts and London until he proves to be at least a quality game manager or provide the high variance that can offset understandable inconsistency.

If Ridder is only going to dink and dunk passes and fails to bring the best out of Pitts, the Falcons’ offense simply won’t be dynamic enough to threaten defenses.

There’s also the possibility that defenses have more success against the Falcons’ running game. With Robinson in the backfield as opposed to less-threatening players like Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson, defenses may hedge their bets and dare Ridder to beat them over the top. Any dip in the effectiveness of the ground game can make-or-break Ridder.

MORE: Atlanta Falcons 2023 Schedule

Atlanta has the personnel to be a strong run-stopping unit along their front four, but their linebacking corps and EDGE group lack proven help. Both Mykal Walker and Troy Andersen had nice raw tackle totals but weren’t especially impactful last season.

Along with their young pass rushers and cornerbacks, if these individuals can’t take a leap into being decent starters, then it’ll be another long season for the defense.

New defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, who replaced Dean Pees, spent six seasons with the Saints. New Orleans’ defense has been one of the best in the NFL since he joined the team in 2017, so if Nielsen is successful in bringing the same effectiveness to Atlanta anytime soon, then the worst-case scenario for the Falcons won’t be bad at all.

At worst, Atlanta’s offense will be good on the ground but, again, unwatchable when they need to throw the ball. If the offense can’t eat the clock for the defense, teams will be able to race up and down the field with ease.

Atlanta could be one of the worst teams in the league if they don’t have some of the same fortunes they benefitted from last year and also further internal growth.

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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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