The NFL's preseason is officially underway – and so is the prediction season, as a number of analysts and media outlets have been busy making with their prognostications, including how the Atlanta Falcons will finish in 2019.
During Thursday night's Hall of Fame Game, NBC analyst Tony Dungy gave his two dark horse teams from each conference.
His pick for the NFC? The Atlanta Falcons. Dungy said he likes the Jacksonville Jaguars coming out of the AFC.
Dungy isn't the only one making predictions, either.
Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton wrote that the Falcons will have a bounce-back season after finishing at 7-9 and missing the playoffs in 2018. Moton said that after the recent roster moves on offense and defense, the Falcons "have enough firepower to outscore the New Orleans Saints" and finish with an 11-5 record.
Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated listed the Falcons as top contenders to come out of the NFC South. The "fortified offensive line, a developing Calvin Ridley and a schedule that breaks pretty nicely after the bye" is what has Orr sold on the Falcons coming out of the NFC South with an 11-5 mark this year. And Orr said he "expects to get hammered" for his prediction, but he's sticking with Atlanta in the South.
USA TODAY writer Nate Davis, also thinks the Falcons will have a bounce-back season. Davis writes that the "Dirty South Dirty Birds should be doubly dangerous" this season and pointed out that having offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter back calling the plays will make a huge impact. He also highlighted Dan Quinn taking over as defensive coordinator and a clean injury report could lead the team to come out of the division with 11 wins. Davis sees the Falcons falling in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Eagles, for what it's worth.
CBSSports.com NFL insider Will Brinson isn't quite as optimistic when it comes to the outcome of the Falcons season. Brinson said that due to the Falcons' injuries, they underperformed and were just flat-out unlucky last season. Brinson sees the defense as being subpar, but thinks that, offensively, the team is loaded. He does like the additions of Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary to the offensive line. Ultimately, Brinson predicts an 8-8 finish for the Falcons.