Nov 1, 2023 - Sports

Atlanta Falcons midseason report card: C+

Taylor Heinicke in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Titans. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The NFL season is nearing the halfway mark, and the Falcons find themselves in familiar territory: a .500 record with four wins and four losses.

State of play: If that sounds like a common mark for Atlanta to be at eight games into the season, it's because it is. They've been 4-4 five times since 2017.

By the numbers: The Falcons started the season 2-0 before dropping four of their next six games.

  • Last year and the season before they started 0-2 before winning four of their next six.

Offense grade: D

Zoom in: After years of watching Matt Ryan and Julio Jones carve up defenses, it's been an odd switch to see a Falcons offense struggle. But they have a hard time doing their main job, which is to score.

  • Atlanta has hit the 25 point mark just once in eight games. They are 28th out of 32 teams in average points per game with a measly 17.3.

Between the lines: That's not a good look for a team who has spent their past three first round draft picks on the offensive side of the ball — tight end Kyle Pitts, receiver Drake London and rookie running back Bijan Robinson.

Yes, but: Quarterback Desmond Ridder has struggled with protecting the ball. He has six interceptions and seven fumbles on the year. The Falcons are now turning to back up quarterback Taylor Heinicke to lead the team.

Defense grade: B

Details: Remember all those years fans just wanted the defense to be league average? Well, after hemorrhaging yards and points for so long, they finally are. They're even a tick above average.

The intrigue: Atlanta's defense is 14th in the league in scoring, giving up 20.1 points per game, and sixth in yards per game.

Yes, but: They still struggle to get sacks. The Falcons have just 15 on the year tied for the second lowest total in the NFL. And this week the team lost one of their best defensive players, Grady Jarrett, to a torn ACL.

Reason for second half hope: An easy schedule. Of their remaining nine games, only one team, the New York Jets, currently has a winning record.

  • The Falcons take on the Vikings this Sunday in Atlanta. Kickoff is at 1pm on Fox.

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