Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Falcons not wowing Vegas: Are concerns real?

According to the first post-draft odds in Las Vegas the Falcons are 40-1 win the Super Bowl (via Bovada). That places them tied for only 13th overall, and maybe more significantly only tied for eighth among NFC teams.

These odds fall in line with previously released over-under win totals. The Falcons are projected to win only eight games in 2014 season (via Cantor gaming), which puts them behind New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, as well as Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia in the conference. (Complete odds are listed below.)

As we know, oddsmakers set odds based on public perceptions in hopes of getting equal wagering on both sides. It’s not necessarily a direct prediction, “The Falcons will go only 8-8,” but it’s remarkable how on target Las Vegas usually is. (That’s how they can afford all of those big buildings.)

The point of me bringing this up is to pose the question: How confident are you in the Falcons? I’ll have a column later on that mostly will focus on one lingering area of concern on the team, post-free agency and post-draft.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the MyAJC column.

Here are a few thoughts on some areas on the team:

• Offensive line: The addition of tackle Jake Matthews in the draft and guard Jon Asamoah in free agency, both likely starters, should improve pass protection and run blocking. But it’s uncertain how left tackle Sam Baker, plagued by injury problems in his career, will rebound from a knee injury. Center also remains uncertain, where Peter Konz has struggled and Joe Hawley has been a solid veteran backup.

 Defensive line: Tackles, anyone? Paul Soliai was signed in free agency. The Falcons already had Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry and Travian Robertson at defensive tackle. What they’re short of are quality defensive ends. They added 3-4 end Tyson Jackson. Second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman was a nose tackle at Minnesota, but the Falcons think at 6-6, 310 pounds he can play on the end. Osi Umenyiora, Malliciah Goodman, Jonathan Massaquoi and Stansly Maponga are back. I’m just not seeing a lot sacks there.

 Outside linebackers: Kroy Biermann is coming off a torn Achilles. Sean Weatherspoon is coming off foot and knee injuries that limited him to seven largely ineffective games. Prince Shembo, a fourth-round pick from Notre Dame, could be in the mix. There are no certainties in this group.

Tight end: Tony Gonzalez is gone (really, this time). Levine Toilolo probably will start. I know there’s a lot of concern in the fan base about this position but I don’t see it as a pressing need. If the running game improves and the receivers can stay healthy, reducing the tight end role in the offense won’t be a concern. If the running game and receivers fail, the tight end won’t matter anyway.

 Running back: I like the pick of Florida State running back Devonta Freeman in the fourth round. He’s not big (5-8) but he’s physical and can be used as a receiver out of the backfield. But Steven Jackson has something to prove.

That’s all for now. I’ll have more in a column later.

How far do you see this team going?

Here are the complete Super Bowl odds”

Here are the complete over/unders (via Cantor Gaming):

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.