Arthur Smith is the right guy with characteristics to be a “strong leader” in the NFL, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank declared in January during Smith’s introductory press conference as the Falcons’ new head coach. Blank made no mention of a rebuild in his remarks, nor did he while introducing new general manager Terry Fontenot days later.
In the five months since the Falcons’ season ended, there’s been no talk of “rebuilding” a team that finished with fewer than five wins (4-12) for just the fifth time in 30 years, has salary-cap issues, and attempts to trade their future Hall of Fame receiver, Julio Jones. And if there’s any talk of rebuilding, Blank will need a new coach and general manager to do it.
“They hired the wrong guys if they thought we were going to lower expectations, take our time, and rebuild,” Smith said on Football Morning in America in May. “That’s just not who we are. The expectation is to win now, build for the future.”
Expectations at the BetMGM sports book don’t include “win now.”
The Falcons’ win total opened in mid-April at 7.5 and hasn’t moved; they remain tied with the Carolina Panthers for the lowest win total in the NFC South. Only seven teams in the NFL have a lower win total, a group that includes the Falcons’ Week 1 opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, against whom they’re favored in Week NFL odds.
This week on High Motor by BetMGM, in the first NFL divisional preview episode, we discussed the NFC South, breaking down win totals, Week 1 NFL lines, playoff odds, power structure (now and in three years), and more.