Keys to Staying in First in the Division

Younghoe Koo celebrating with teammates after game winner.

Who would’ve thought that the Atlanta Falcons would be first in the NFC south. Those frisky Falcons secured their first place spot after being tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a rollercoaster of an ending in week eight against the Carolina Panthers, in which the game went into overtime after Panthers kicker Eddy Piñero missed the game winning field goal and then missed it again in overtime. The Falcons were projected to have the worst roster in the league towards the beginning of the season and here they are now sitting at the top of their division.


Now if the Falcons want to stay on top, they will have to keep many of their key players involved. Now that their star running back Cordarelle Patterson has returned from injury reserve, the running game is going to get a big boost. The run game has been pretty stellar with rookie Tyler Allgeier and elevated practice squad member Caleb Huntley averaging almost 200 yards a game while also averaging 4.4 rushing yards per carry. 


Patterson being back will surely bump those numbers up because in week three against The Seattle Seahawks he averaged about 8.3 yards per carry with also having 4.2 in week four against The Cleveland Browns. Another thing that has slowly been gaining ground over the weeks has been the use of the Falcons’ fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts. Fans and fantasy owners have been in a public outcry to Falcons coach Arthur Smith to have Pitts be way more in the passing game. Pitts being in the slot really does help out with the Falcons’ recent draft pick of wide receiver Drake London with pressure because London is almost doubled covered most of the time. 


Pitts has been gaining some more receptions and actually has got two touchdowns this year which is way better than last year where he had only one touchdown that was in a London game against The New York Jets. Pitts gained 80 yards last week, and averaged about 16 yards per reception which is pretty average. What could really help with the passing game possibly is to have Cordarelle Patterson also in as wide receiver because he actually listed as a wide receiver. Pitts, London, and Patterson as the receiver core could be monstrous during the rest of the season.


The last key is to tighten up the secondary. During week seven against the Cincinnati Bengals, Most of the Falcons’ cornerbacks were injured. This included A.J. Terrell and Dee Alford were key players in that secondary, and when they were both out of the game, The Bengals took advantage and gained almost 500 yards. Also in week eight there was some trouble with the secondary especially in the last minute of the fourth quarter against The Panthers when their Quarterback PJ Walker threw a hail mary to wide receiver DJ Moore for a touchdown that tied the game. Terrell and Alford both return in this upcoming game against The Los Angeles Chargers, who have a very heavy pass offense, so having both of them back will be very beneficial.


The Atlanta Falcons have many things that they need to change in order to stay on top of the NFC south, but I believe that those changes will happen in time.

(Kyle Pitts running with the football) source: