A pair of losing streaks doomed the 2018 Atlanta Falcons season, but a three-game winning streak to close out the regular season provides hope going into 2019.
Perhaps the biggest offseason acquisition for Atlanta was the reunion between quarterback Matt Ryan and coach Dirk Koetter. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach was Ryan’s offensive coordinator for three seasons. After piloting the Bucs to a 19-29 record over the past three seasons, Koetter was fired and was quickly snatched up by the Falcons, in his former position of offensive coordinator. The pairing was made with the hope that it will return Ryan to his Super Bowl form of three seasons ago.
Julio Jones caught over 1,400 yards for the fifth-straight season. After not logging a touchdown in the first seven games of 2018, he ended up with eight.
On the defensive side of the ball, Atlanta used the franchise tag to lock up defensive tackle Grady Jarrett for the season, which provides stability along the front line.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium was the center of the football world this past February, as it hosted Super Bowl LIII. The stadium opened in 2017, but it has already played host to a Super Bowl and College Football Playoff Championship Game. The retractable roof went into operation in time for the 2018 season. It’s also known for its affordable concession prices, which are going down even further for 2019. For example, a hot dog is going from $2 to $1.50. Despite the low food prices, the Falcons say spending on food was up 16 percent over the higher prices featured at the team’s old stadium, the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons play in a competitive NFC South, which was won by the New Orleans Saints in 2018. The Falcons will play the rival Saints twice this year, along with the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The other five home games feature these teams: Philadelphia (Sunday night game), Tennessee, the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle, and Jacksonville. Non-division road contests will be staged at Minnesota, Indianapolis, Houston, Arizona, and San Francisco.