The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their first ever back-to-back winning seasons. The Falcons previously held the record for the longest streak of seasons without consecutive winning seasons among all major American sports, a streak that lasted from 1966-2008.
Though they failed to make the playoffs last year, the streak ended when the Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-10 in the final game of the season to improve their record to 9-7.
In 2008 the Falcons finished 11-5 and made the playoffs behind rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and rookie head coach Mike Smith
Their 2009 fall-off was mostly due to injuries to Matt Ryan, and starting All-Pro running back, Michael Turner.
The Falcons defense was also one of the worst in the league. They ranked 21st in total defense and 28th in pass defense.
The Falcons attempted to address these deficiencies in the 2010 NFL Draft.
First round pick Sean Weatherspoon will start Week 1 at middle line backer. Third round pick, (Atlanta's second round pick was traded to Kansas City in the Tony Gonzalez deal) Corey Peter, has a strong chance to start on the defensive line. The Falcons current defensive roster has 12 rookies on it, including five rookie defensive backs.
The Falcons also inked corner back free agent Dunta Robinson to a 6 year deal in the off-season.
With an improved defense and hopes for a full season from Ryan and Turner the Falcons have a bright outlook at a winning season in 2010.
With another successful season head coach Mike Smith might be able to lay claim to being the most successful Falcons coach ever. Only coaches Leeman Bennett (.526 winning pct.) and Jim Mora (.542) had winning records with Atlanta.
Let's take a look at the road ahead that Smith, Ryan and the Falcons will have to travel to have another winning season. .