Those are the numbers that have haunted fans of the Atlanta Falcons since February. 28-3 has turned from a set of numbers into a taunt, an internet meme, a tattoo, a sign at the Boston Marathon. A short-hand for ‘choke’. In case you’ve been living under a rock, that was the score in favor of the Falcons deep in the third quarter of the Superbowl, before it all went wrong even for everybody who got an NFL Free Pick for the game. Now Tom Brady has got a new Superbowl ring in his vault; a ring decorated with 283 individual diamonds. So the question is, how can the Falcons come back from that type of public – and there is no other word for it in a sporting context – humiliation?
There are many who believe that they won’t, that the pressure will weigh too heavy. They are in one of the most competitive divisions in the league, which doesn’t help. Tampa Bay looked stronger than they have in years, and are tipped by many to do well next year. The Panthers disappointed last season but are still strong and looking to bounce back. And as for the Saints, Drew Brees may have some miles on the clock but he’s still one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league.
Strongest Offense of 2016 – How it translated into our NFL Free Pick
For their part, the Falcons will bring the strongest offense of 2016 back for another crack at the league. They have lost offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers but to Falcon fans still burned by some of the calls made late in the Superbowl, maybe that’s no bad thing. Steve Sarkisian is a rookie offensive co-ordinator with some personal issues in the background, but he comes from a school with the highest pedigree in Alabama.
They still have Matt Ryan to throw to Julio Jones, possibly the best wide receiver in the business. They have one of the best one-two punch running backs around in Coleman and Freeman. Taylor Gabriel, Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu performed above expectations, and Alex Mack made a big difference at center. The defense has room for improvement, but there were promising signs. Takkarist McKinley was a good pick-up in a solid if unspectacular draft class.
NFL Free Pick Surprise – On the field
In other words, things look very positive for the Falcons. How that 28-3 will affect them between the ears we will only discover as the season plays out. Superbowl 51 was one of the most unpredictable in years, but one sports prediction service that got it right. IntPicks.com had the Patriots to win -3 points, and that 34- 28 final score-line made IntPIcks members happy even as it broke the hearts of Falcon fans. Sign up today to get a Free pick sent to your email inbox every single day. You will also have full access to all our past predictions, to see exactly why IntPicks.com is the best in the business.