3 Atlanta Falcons Bold Predictions for Week 1

By michael obermuller
Bold predictions for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.
Bold predictions for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. / Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons had a strong finish to a 2019 season after seeming to off the rails out of the gate. Here in 2020, they'll want to get off to a fast start, and hopefully avoid a similar situation as last year.

To do that, winning their first home game this Sunday against the visiting Seattle Seahawks will be paramount. The Seahawks are currently getting a point and a half on the road, but Atlanta has the tools to pull off the upset, and these three bold predictions will explain why.

3. Hayden Hurst Has an Immediate Impact in the Passing Attack

One of the Falcons major decisions this offseason was to allow Austin Hooper to test free agency, and eventually walk. To take his place, Atlanta traded for former first round pick Hayden Hurst, who had been overshadowed by Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle in Baltimore. Hurst showed he could play when given the opportunity, but a rookie campaign injury allowed Andrews to win the job outright, and Hurst never had the impact that was expected after that. Matt Ryan has proven time and time again that he loves throwing the ball to tight ends. It might be asking a lot for Hurst to play a big Week 1 role after having no preseason action in 2020, but even so this matchup couldn't be better for Hurst. Seattle gave up a league-leading 1,267 passing yards to the tight end position in 2019.

2. The Falcons Sack Wilson Four Times

To win this game, Atlanta's front four will have to get to Russell Wilson with pressure. This Seattle offensive line is continuously ranked by analysts as a bottom-third blocking unit, and with some new bodies starting on it that weren't with the Seahawks last season, this could be their weakest area in Week 1. The Falcons added Dante Fowler Jr. this offseason, and fans would love to see the edge rusher get his first sack with the franchise in his first game. Takk McKinley and Grady Jarrett could also be trouble for this Seahawks pass protection. When the two teams played in 2019, Atlanta sacked Wilson twice, and the Falcons lost by a touchdown. They must double that number on Sunday.

1. Julio Jones Records Double-Digit Receptions

With Matt Schaub throwing the ball, Julio Jones torched Shaquill Griffin and this Seahawks secondary last season, catching 10 passes for 152 yards when the two teams met. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it wasn't enough to pull off a victory over Seattle, but don't expect that to stop Julio from abusing these cornerbacks again on Sunday. On paper, this matchup has the makings of a shootout. Both teams have shaky secondaries and lethal weapons through the air. Assuming the chemistry is up to snuff (which should be the case for seasoned veterans like Jones and Matt Ryan), Julio will be called upon early and often. Expect double-digit receptions for the superstar in Week 1.

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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.