After two 7-9 seasons, it is sometimes tough to remember just how good the Atlanta Falcons were in 2016 and 2017, with a Super Bowl appearance and a Wild Card win in those back to back seasons of double-digit wins.
A big part of the Falcons’ success is their star receiver Julio Jones, who for the last half dozen seasons has been an impressive contributor who routinely posts 1,400+ total receiving yards in the regular season, his connection with quarterback Matt Ryan made practically flawless after nine years of playing together.
The 2020 NFL season should be no exception for this pair, the oddsmakers predicting another productive season for Jones, and we take a closer look at how he and his Falcons are set up to get back to double-digit wins and postseason football.
Odds taken 4, June 2020 from DraftKings
Jones has caught for more than 1,300 yards in his last six seasons, so it seems likely that he will beat the over of this wager.
Ever since Jones became an NFL player in 2011, he has compiled more receiving yards than any other player in the league, his career total (so far) of 12,125 yards in his nine pro seasons the direct result of averaging 96.2 receptions yards per game.
Tough to imagine how the Falcons and Jones have managed to avoid the postseason for two years in a row now, especially given his quarterback, Matt Ryan, was the fifth most productive at his position last season and the third most productive the season before.
Add to the mystery the fact that the Falcons had the fourth-best passing attack last season, averaging 290.8 yards through the air per game, and it’s no wonder the fans in Atlanta are frustrated with their talented teams run of sub .500 seasons.
Only two teams had a worse run game than the Falcons in 2019, with Atlanta averaging just 85.1 yards on the ground per game, which gave defenses the ability to focus more on Jones (meaning double teams) which tends to limit opportunities, even for the speedy Jones.
By signing free-agent running back Todd Gurley, the Falcons have added a major factor to their backfield that defenses will have to begin to game plan around, which will free up some field for Jones to get open.
Of course, that’s assuming Gurley still has “gas left in the tank,” his 2019 numbers coming up short, with 857 total yards rushing on 223 carries with 12 touchdowns, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry.
The Atlanta Falcons have the distinct disadvantage right now of being in the same division as Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints, who have a habit of winning double-digit games and making first place of the NFC South a bit of a recurring given.
Add to that the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just got significantly better with their GOAT and GRONK upgrades, so for Atlanta to be in the divisional race at all, a season of successful Ryan to Jones connections will be absolutely necessary.
Good news is Jones is always productive – head coach Dan Quinn just needs to figure out how to keep the rest of his team healthy for sixteen weeks and more, plus how to balance a newly formed rushing attack with a proven passing game featuring Julio Jones.
Pick: Take the over since a healthy Jones should top 1,300 receiving yards by at least Week 15 if his production history is any indication.
Brush Back from Blackballed NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s NIKE Endorsement Deal
NFL | 27 January - 08:23 | Mike Lukas
49ers vs Eagles NFC Conference Championship: 49ers Confident With Winning Rookie QB Brock Purdy Under Center
NFL | 25 January - 08:04 | Mike Lukas
Bengals vs Chiefs AFC Conference Championship: This Battle to See Whether the Bengals Will Return to the Big Game
NFL | 25 January - 05:38 | Mike Lukas
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. If you feel like you're losing control over your gambling experience, call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, PA, WV), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-522-4700 (NV), 1-800-522-4700 (CO, TN), 1-855-2CALLGA (IL), 1-800-270-7117 (MI).
WSN.com is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.